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Cloning must be researched and funded, however, its human involvement must be limited to prevent a veritable onslaught of ethical and legal battles, and promote its potential health and societal benefits.

Am I right to feel like there is something wrong with the sentence above? Something with the number of "ands" and comma use, right?

  • To just tweak the sentence: (1) remove commas after however and battles; add "to" before promote. But, what do they mean by "human involvement must be limited"? Do they mean tinkering is OK up to N cell divisions or what? – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Nov 13 '15 at 2:31
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    @ab2- I think the clones do all the work themselves. The humans just check in from time to time to see how things are going. – Jim Nov 13 '15 at 2:57
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    An unremarked problem with the excerpt is that in the phrase "its human involvement" its refers to cloning; but "cloning's human involvement" means what? – Sven Yargs Nov 13 '15 at 3:12
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Trust your feelings. First of all, the author got two independent clauses connected by however. Using the commas misleads the reader into thinking the word is just an adverbial aside. Use a semicolon to emphasize that it's a conjunction:

Cloning must be researched and funded; however, ....

The author has written himself into a corner. He can't leave out the comma after battles, since it will mislead the author into parsing another object of the preposition of, but retaining the comma will mislead the reader into expecting another independent clause. I think the best you can do short of a complete rewrite is add the missing to from promote to emphasize that there's a modifier of compound infinitives

... its human involvement must be limited to prevent a veritable onslaught of ethical and legal battles and to promote its potential health and societal benefits.

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Isn't the real problem that the sentence is ambiguous? You could interpret it as saying that human involvement must be limited and must promote [...] or as saying that the involvement must be limited to prevent [...] and to promote [...]. Right? It seems to me that no one here has taken the first possibility into consideration.

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