Cloning in Plants & Animals

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Cloning has been going on in the natural world for thousands of years. A clone is simply one living thing made from another, leading to two organisms with the same set of genes. In that sense, identical twins are clones, because they have identical DNA. Sometimes, plants are self-pollinated, producing seeds and eventually more plants with the same genetic code. Some forests are made entirely of trees originating from one single plant; the original tree spread its roots, which later sprouted new trees. When earthworms are cut in half, they regenerate the missing parts of their bodies, leading to two worms with the same set of genes. However, the ability to intentionally create a clone in the animal kingdom by working on the cellular level is a very recent development. The first cloned animals were created by Hans Dreisch in the late 1800's. Dreich's original goal was not to create identical animals, but to prove that genetic material is not lost during cell division. Dreich's experiments involved sea urchins, which he picked because they have large embryo cells, and grow independently of their mothers. Dreich took a 2 celled embryo of a sea urchin and shook it in a beaker full of sea water until the two cells separated. Each grew independently, and formed a separate, whole sea urchin.

The first cloned mammal were in 1986, when two teams, working independently but using nearly the same method but the possibility of human cloning, raised when a Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut at Roslin Institute created the sheep "Dolly", it stimulated worldwide interest and concern because of its scientific and ethical proposition.

Many plants clone themselves naturally to reproduce. They send a small shoot-like structure, called a runner, along the soil. The runner grows into a new separate plant that is genetically identical to the original plant. In other words, it is a clone. People can clone plants by simply taking a cutting of the plant such as a...
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