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In this unit, you were introduced to recent advancements in medicine, including the use of cloning and 3D printing to create replacement or enhancement parts. In this discussion, you are asked to consider the ethics associated with these different forms of replacements and enhancements now possible due to recent advancements in medicine. To complete your initial post:

First, imagine you are a member of the Ethics Board at the American Medical Association. You are involved in specific discussions about the use of replacement and enhancement parts from cloning and 3D printing.
Second, write a discussion post that presents your opinions on the ethics of these replacement/enhancement part strategies by responding to the following questions:
What is your main ethical concern about each technology?
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each technology you have considered when addressing your concerns?
Do your considerations differ based on whether the technology is used for replacement or enhancement? Why or why not?
Given this analysis, describe what you would recommend to the ethics committee specific to your concerns.
Please be sure to support your opinions and ideas with specific examples.

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Sample Answer

Ethical Considerations of Cloning and 3D Printing in Medicine

As a member of the Ethics Board at the American Medical Association, I am concerned about the ethical implications of using cloning and 3D printing to create replacement or enhancement parts.

Main Ethical Concern

My main ethical concern is that these technologies could be used to create a new class of “enhanced” humans who are superior to those who do not have access to these technologies. This could lead to a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, and it could also lead to discrimination against those who are not enhanced.

Full Answer Section

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloning and 3D Printing

The advantages of cloning and 3D printing include the potential to create replacement parts that are a perfect match for the individual, and the potential to create new organs and tissues that are not available from donors. However, there are also some disadvantages to these technologies. For example, cloning is still a relatively new technology, and there is a risk of complications. Additionally, 3D printing is not yet able to create complex organs and tissues.

Considerations for Replacement vs. Enhancement

My considerations differ based on whether the technology is used for replacement or enhancement. For replacement, I believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, if someone needs a new heart, cloning or 3D printing could be used to create a perfect match. However, for enhancement, I believe that the risks outweigh the benefits. For example, if someone wants to be taller or stronger, I do not believe that cloning or 3D printing is the right solution.


I would recommend that the Ethics Committee carefully consider the ethical implications of using cloning and 3D printing in medicine. I would also recommend that the Committee develop guidelines for the use of these technologies. These guidelines should ensure that these technologies are used for legitimate medical purposes, and they should prevent the creation of a new class of “enhanced” humans.

Specific Examples

One specific example of the ethical concerns raised by cloning and 3D printing is the case of the “Dolly” sheep. Dolly was the first cloned mammal, and she was created in 1996. Dolly lived for only six years, and she died of a lung disease. This raises the question of whether cloning is safe, and whether it is ethical to create clones that may have shorter lifespans or other health problems.

Another specific example is the case of 3D printed organs. In 2017, scientists at Wake Forest University created a 3D printed kidney that was able to function in a rat. This is a promising development, but it is still too early to say whether 3D printed organs will be safe and effective for humans.


The ethical implications of cloning and 3D printing in medicine are complex and far-reaching. It is important to carefully consider these implications before these technologies are used more widely.

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