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Resource Page for Teachers

This classroom resource guide will support curriculum in several areas:

    • Christian Morality and Ethics
    • Biology/Science

 

Idea One - Exploring the Wonders of the Science of Cloning

A. Glossary of Basic Terms

Your students may find it helpful first to create a glossary of terms relating to cloning, ethics and Christian morality. A number of sources are readily available, most of which your students are already familiar with. Encyclopedias, textbooks, dictionaries are the most obvious. The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia in America Online explains "cloning" and "genetic engineering" in two clear articles. Definitions of Christian terms such as "stewardship" may require the studentsí researching this monthís article and other sources to find descriptive definitions.

Terms to define will include:

cloning genetic engineering
genome identical twin
morality stewardship
co-creativity reverence
wonder recombinant-DNA
transgenic

 

B. Science - The Wonder of Cloning

Your students can first deepen their appreciation of the meaning of cloning. How is cloning used now? What are the possibilities of cloning? How does it/could it change our lives?

Working in small groups, direct your students to research:

1. What has science successfully achieved with cloning to date?

The two articles from the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia will yield brief descriptions of present uses of cloning, as well as cloning examples from nature and artificial cloning techniques.

This research can cover:

  • genetically altered crops
  • genetically engineered bacteria
  • cloning experiments on large mammals: sheep, cattle, goats
  • cloning experiments on frogs
  • production of medically important substances, such as insulin and hemoglobin

See the publication Scientific American for more reference material. Use keyword SciAm in America Online or go to http://www.sciam.com. The article "Bacterial Gene Swapping in Nature" in the January 1998 issue talks about the current roles of genetically engineered bacteria. Studies indicate that, while caution is important, putting genetically engineered organisms in the environment can be done safely.

See also "Making Rice Disease-Resistant" in the November 1997, issue of Scientific American. The February 1998 issue profiles Francis S. Collins, the head of the U.S. Human Genome Project. Collins is a devout Christian who works to balance his faith and his scientific work.

Try also the "Explorations" column in Scientific American, March 3, 1997 and September 2, 1997, for more on cloning.

An analysis of cloning can be found in Nature magazineís Web site, http://www.nature.com. Research here will reveal a collection of full-text articles on cloning.

2. What are the exciting possibilities of cloning?

Your students can generate a list of potential cloning experiments that would provide benefits for the world. Let them brainstorm from their research and list all the possibilities before discussing ethics and morality. Examples will include the use of fetal tissue from cloned embryos to combat diseases and cancers. In Idea Two, below, they will have the opportunity to discuss ethics and morality.

3. Ask several students to profile prominent scientists involved with cloning.

Compare, for example, Ian Wilmut, the embryologist who produced the sheep Dolly, with Richard Seed, the scientist predicting he will clone a human by 1999.

See Time, "Cloning Kevorkian," January 19, 1998, vol. 151, no.2. (Also accessible through http://www.time.com.)

For another profile of Richard Seed, see http://www.the-tidings.com. Look for an article dated January 16, 1998, "Ethicists Call Cloning Plan Premature, Commercialized."

 

4. Distinguish between possible human cloning and the creation of human embryos for research and for medical use.

Kelly Smith, professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey, discusses cloning on the Web site http://www.princetoninfo.com, the site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey. Human cloning could lead, for example, to the use of fetal cells to treat conditions such as Parkinsonís disease. Is there a difference between killing a 16-cell organism and a two-month-old fetus, she poses. Let your students research and discuss this.

 

Idea Two - Ethics and Morality - The Wonder of Life and the Grandeur of God

A. What do the scientific and government communities say about the ethics of cloning?

The text of President Clintonís prohibition on the use of federal funding for human cloning experimentation.

Another source is the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to the President. See http://www.princetoninfo.com. As a biotechnology center, Princeton University is a strong source for your studentís research on this topic. At this site youíll find links to other reference material as well.

B. What are the churches and religious leaders saying about the ethics of cloning?

Informative sources will include:

  • The Kennedy Institute of Ethics, at Georgetown University. See http://www.georgetown.edu/kennedy. This site contains an extensive bibliography and article abstracts on cloning, as well as links to other sites.
  • Pope John Center for Medical Ethics in Boston, Massachusetts. See http://www.pjcenter.org. Here youíll find the July 8, 1997, "Reflections on Cloning," a summary of the statement on cloning from the Pontifical Academy for Life. Youíll also find publications listed here which may be helpful in research. The Director of Education, Fr. Germain Kopaczynski, O.F.M. Conv., suggests Catholicism and Ethics: A Medical/Moral Handbook, Rev. Edward J. Hayes et al., available from C. R. Publications Inc., 345 Prospect Street, Norwood, MA 02062. The book is aimed at teens and high school teachers.
  • The National Council of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Catholic Conference: see http://www.nccbuscc.org. Publications are available through this site, including the papal document "The Gospel of Life."
  • The Vatican: see http://www.vatican.va for papal documents on the value and sanctity of life.
  • Youíll find material in many of your local diocesan newspapers from the spring of 1997. Try, for example, The Tidings, the publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. See http://www.the-tidings.com.

C. The Wonder of Life

This monthís article speaks of stewardship, our responsibility to care for our earth and all life on it. Your students can deepen their appreciation for the grandeur of God and the wonders of life by looking at how poetry treats the subject of life. Direct them in finding poetry which expresses the beauty of life and Godís creation. Possible sources could be Psalms 8, 104 and 139 in the Hebrew Scriptures. Try also the poetry of May Sarton, particularly Coming Into Eighty: New Poems, 1994. Or some of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Your students may also wish to write a poem about lifeís wonders. Or perhaps they could find a story about an individual whose life and actions exemplify belief in the beauty of life: an artist, a humanitarian, a caregiver, a doctor or nurse.

 

You may also find it helpful to refer to other St. Anthony Messenger articles and corresponding online resource pages. The June 1997 online article on physician-assisted suicide, for example, will give students another perspective on the value of life. See http://www.AmericanCatholic.org.

Further Online Resources

Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference. Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles contained within the siteís archives.

http://www.nytimes.com/ - The New York Times

http://www.latimes.com/ - The Los Angeles Times

http://www.time.com/ - Time magazine

http://www.cnn.com/ - CNN

http://www.msnbc.com/ - MSNBC

http://www.pathfinder.com/ - This site will take you to a number of online publications.

http://wire.ap.org/ - The Associated Press

http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ - The Chicago Tribune

http://www.people.com/ - People magazine

http://www.washingtonpost.com/- The Washington Post

http://www.historychannel.com


Links Disclaimer:

The links contained within this resource guide are functional at the time the page is posted. Over time, however, some of the links may become ineffective.

These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications of the contents on such third-party Web sites. St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web sites. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do so at your own risk.


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