An Internet WebQuest
HUMAN CLONING: SOME ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Introduction
  • If you read the newspaper or listen to television news, you have heard a lot about cloning. Do you know exactly what a clone is? According to the dictionary, a clone is a group of genetically identical cells that are descended from a common ancestor, such as a clone of bacterial cells grown from one original bacterial cell in a laboratory. A clone could also be an organism that grew from a single parent by asexual reproduction. For example, an organism called a hydra reproduces asexually by growing buds from its body. When the buds mature and drop off, they are new organisms that are genetically identical to the parent, and thus they are clones of the single parent hydra. A clone could also be a replica of a DNA sequence that is produced through genetic engineering.
  • However, these definitions of a clone don’t really address the current debate about cloning. A sheep named Dolly was the very first clone of an adult mammal. Dolly was news because for the first time a clone was created from differentiated cells – that is, cells that were not embryonic. Since Dolly, researchers the world over have been creating clones of other mammals, including mice and cows. Because human beings are also mammals, scientists have begun to discuss the ethical, moral, legal, and biological issues that might result from the cloning of human beings. Under what circumstances should cloning be allowed? Is it acceptable to clone bacteria or mice? Is it acceptable to clone your favorite pet animal? Should cloning of human organs be allowed? Should cloning of human beings be allowed? What kinds of restrictions should be placed on cloning technologies?
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Task
  • Your job in this WebQuest is to form an opinion as to whether human cloning should be allowed. You will learn what cloning is and how clones are made. You will research the ethical arguments both for, and against, human cloning. You will find out if there are any laws regarding the cloning of humans and what those laws state. You will identify some of the moral issues that accompany the cloning of human beings. Finally, you will form an opinion as to whether human cloning should be allowed.
  • Once you have done your research, you will write a set of ethical standards that you think should be used to govern the use of cloning technologies. Then you will prepare a set of ten questions that relate to your standards and use these questions on a survey form. You will interview at least ten people and ask them to complete the survey. Finally, you will compile the survey results and compare these results to your standards. How do your ethical standards compare to the survey results?
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Resources
  • Look at the web sites given here to find the information that will enable you to form your opinion about human cloning.
  • What is cloning?
    • What is a clone?At this WorldBook.com site you can read about what a clone is and the different types of clones.
    • Cloning Plants by Tissue Culture.Go to this site to find out how plant nurseries clone common garden plants.
    • **The Mammal Copiers – Advances in Cloning**.At this Australian Academy of Science site you can read about the cloning of plants and about asexual reproduction in general. Scroll down to learn how Dolly the sheep was cloned and the position the Academy has taken on human cloning.
  • How are clones made?
  • What are some of the legal issues involved in cloning of humans?
  • What are some of the moral and ethical concerns about cloning?
    • Ethical Concerns. Visit this Worldbook.com site to learn about some of the ethical concerns inherent in cloning, especially cloning of human beings.
    • **Genetic Engineering and Cloning: Improving Nature of Uncorking the Genie?**Visit this site by clicking the start button. The site describes the cloning of Dolly and offers a forum for people to debate the ethics of human cloning.
    • **The Cloning Debate**.Go to this article by the Washington Post online to read about the debate over cloning. You can vote in a survey here on whether the United States should ban human cloning. Click on featured story to see other reports on cloning.
    • The Public Speaks on Cloning.Go to this site to see the results of a report on the public’s perspective on human cloning.
    • **The Benefits of Human Cloning**.Visit this site by the Human Cloning Foundation to read about some of the possible benefits of human cloning.
    • Human Cloning: Introduction.At this site, scroll down to find out what cloning is, the history of cloning, and how it is done. You may also read about the moral issues involved with cloning here.
    • **Human Cloning**.This site has an introductory article on human cloning, videos about cloning, and lists of reasons both for and against human cloning. It includes resources for students who are researching human cloning.
    • Genetic Encores: The Ethics of Human Cloning.Visit this site by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy to read about the ethics of human cloning.
    • **Executive Summary: Cloning Human Beings**.Go to this site to read the results of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission’s attempt to address the ethical and legal issues that surround human cloning.
    • Human Cloning? Don’t Just Say No.At this U.S. News online site you can read an article by a professor of bioethics from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
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Time
  • 3 class periods for research; about two weeks at home to write, give, and compile survey results
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Process
  • Now that you have completed your research on the Internet, form your own opinion about whether or not human cloning should be allowed. Should all kinds of cloning be allowed? If cloning is allowed, should there be any restrictions on what it is used for? Should any kind of cloning be banned altogether? Write a short list of the ethical standards that you think should be used to determine the parameters of cloning technology. Prepare a set of ten questions based on your standards and use these questions to survey your friends, family members, or teachers and classmates to find their opinions about human cloning. Compare your survey results with your own opinion.
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Conclusion
  • In the process of completing this WebQuest, you have become informed about a topic that is in the news almost daily. Cloning is a topic that is the focus of heated debates among scientists, theologians, and legislators as well as the general public. Your research has shown you that there are legitimate concerns on more than one side of this issue. You have successfully gathered information, analyzed it critically, and formulated a position on a complex science issue. How does your opinion compare to those found in your research? How does your opinion compare to those people who completed your survey?
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WebQuest Teacher Page
An Internet WebQuest
HUMAN CLONING: SOME ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Introduction
  • In this WebQuest, students research the moral, ethical, and legal aspects associated with cloning technology and with human cloning in particular. They learn what a clone is and how cloning is accomplished. They learn what legislation already exists to control cloning and what regulations the National Bioethics Advisory Commission has recommended for cloning technologies in the future. Students learn about the advantages and the disadvantages of human cloning. Students form an opinion about whether human cloning should be allowed. Then they make a list of ethical standards that they believe should govern cloning of human beings. Finally, they write a survey, give it to friends, family members, or teachers and classmates, and compare the results of the survey with their own opinion.
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Task
  • Students will form an opinion about whether or not human cloning should be allowed. Once they have done the appropriate Internet research, they will write their list of ethical standards to govern human cloning. Then they will create a survey with questions derived from their list, and give the survey to friends, classmates, or family members. They will compile the results and compare them to their own opinion.
  • Objectives
    • Explain what a clone is and describe the cloning technique that resulted in the birth of the sheep Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned using differentiated cells.
    • Summarize the moral and ethical issues with respect to the use of cloning to produce human beings.
    • Identify the legislation that already exists to control the use of cloning techniques.
    • Form an opinion as to whether or not human cloning should be allowed.
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Resources
  • Students will use the Internet links given to find out the answers to these questions.
    1. What is cloning?
    2. How are clones made?
    3. What are some of the legal issues involved in cloning of humans?
    4. What are some of the moral and ethical concerns about cloning?
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Time
  • 3 class periods; about two weeks for out of class work to be completed.
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Process
  • As students progress through the list of web sites, you may help them refine their thinking skills by asking the following questions.
    1. Is it acceptable to clone genes? What about cloning human tissue, organs for transplantation, or whole organisms?
    2. Should cloning of certain kinds of organisms be permitted, but cloning of other kinds of organisms be banned?
    3. Who should make the decisions about whether or not to allow cloning? If legislators make the decisions, should they first be required to hear what scientists, physicians, and the public think about this issue?
    4. If cloning of animals is allowed, would you want to clone your favorite pet? Why or why not?
    5. Do you think a clone of a human would be exactly like the person being cloned? What other factors might influence how a human clone developed?
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Evaluation
  • Use the following rubric to evaluate students’ paragraphs. You can assign any point structure to the rubric to equal the points assigned to this task.
  • Human Cloning: Some Ethical Considerations
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Research and
  • Gather Information
1.) Does not collect any information that relates to the topic
2.) Collects very little information; some relates to the topic.
  • || || 3.) Collects basic information;
  • most relates to topic || 4.) Collects a great deal of information; all relates to the topic ||
  • || Form an Opinion/Create List of Ethical Standards || 1.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses no questions in standards list. || 2.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses few questions in standards list. ||
  • || || 3. ) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses some of the questions in standards list. || 4.) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses most of the important questions in standards list. ||
  • || Grammar and Spelling || 1.) Frequent grammar and spelling errors. || 2.) More than two grammar and spelling errors. ||
  • || || 3.) Only one or two errors in grammar and spelling || 4.) All grammar and spelling correct ||
  • || Professionalism || 1.) Illegible handwriting, page dirty or torn || 2.) Legible handwriting, print hard to read, page dirty ||
  • || || 3.) Legible handwriting well-formed characters, clean copy || 4.) Word processed or typed, clean copy ||
  • || Timeliness || 1.) Letter handed in more than one week late || 2.) Letter handed in up to one week late ||
  • || || 3.) Letter handed in up to two days late || 4.) Letter handed in on time ||
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Conclusion
  • Students should be able to write lists of ethical standards that detail the formation of their opinions about whether or not human cloning should be allowed. Survey questions should be drawn from their individual lists of standards. Students may decide to change their opinion after the survey results are in. Students should be able to support their opinions with facts from their Internet research.
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Human Cloning: Some Ethical Considerations
Research and
Gather Information
1.) Does not collect any information that relates to the topic
2.) Collects very little information; some relates to the topic.

3.) Collects basic information;
most relates to topic
4.) Collects a great deal of information; all relates to the topic
Form an Opinion/Create List of Ethical Standards
1.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses no questions in standards list.
2.) Presents illogical explanation for opinion; addresses few questions in standards list.

3. ) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses some of the questions in standards list.
4.) Presents logical explanation for opinion; addresses most of the important questions in standards list.
Grammar and Spelling
1.) Frequent grammar and spelling errors.
2.) More than two grammar and spelling errors.

3.) Only one or two errors in grammar and spelling
4.) All grammar and spelling correct
Professionalism
1.) Illegible handwriting, page dirty or torn
2.) Legible handwriting, print hard to read, page dirty

3.) Legible handwriting well-formed characters, clean copy
4.) Word processed or typed, clean copy
Timeliness
1.) Letter handed in more than one week late
2.) Letter handed in up to one week late

3.) Letter handed in up to two days late
4.) Letter handed in on time
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