The advantages and disadvantages of cloning

Topics: Cloning, Genetics, Somatic cell nuclear transfer Pages: 5 (1613 words) Published: April 25, 2008
The creation of an identical copy of something is the process of cloning. It is simply a form of asexual reproduction. Cloning is a big issue in todays world of science because of the potential benefits, the risks involved, and medical, ethical and religious conflicts. Plants and animals have already been cloned and stem cell research is already going ahead, and maybe one day science will be able to clone a human. The division of opinion on cloning will require many forums of discussion to cover all aspects. There are serval types of cloning, Reproductive, therapeutic and DNA cloning.

Any animal created by reproductive cloning is not in fact a perfectly matching copy of its donor. Reproductive cloning involves generating an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another. The process used for this is called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. Scientists take genetic material from a cell of the adult donor and place it in an egg which has had its nucleus removed. This egg then must be treated so the process of cell division can start taking place. Once it is ready it will be placed into the uterus of a female to develop until birth.

In 1997, Dolly was the first adult mammal to be cloned. The technique used to clone dolly was the Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. She lived for six years and successfully gave birth. Dolly was not perfect though; she suffered from progressive lung cancer, which lead to her early death. Scientists argue whether her early death had anything to do with being a clone. They stated that other sheep had died from this disease and it had no connection with her being a clone.

Dolly was the one success of many attempts. 277 eggs were used and out of them only 29 embryos and they only created 3 lambs, 2 of which died at birth. When dolly became well known from the media coverage, it demonstrated that adult cells could be programmed to make a whole new organism. This was when the theory of one day being able to create human clones became closer to being possible and started controversy between peoples different views on the matter.

The benefits of Reproductive cloning are that it can be used to mass-produce animals with specific qualities for research on studying human disease. Scientist could test the effectiveness of drugs and reduce the amount of people and animals used in research. But of course this would only be if the reproductive cloning success rates were to improve.

Also, reproductive cloning would be a great way to increase the number of animals that are hard to breed or in danger of extinction. An endangered Asian ox was effectively cloned but died after 48 hours. In just twelve hours it was able to stand but not long after was diagnosed with a common disease and passed away. The fact that scientists say both Dolly and this ox died of common diseases makes me think that cloned animals have a weaker immune system and are more vulnerable to disease.

Therapeutic cloning is the cloning of particular body parts to be used for medical reasons. It follows the process of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer except the embryo with the replaced DNA is not placed into a womans uterus to develop; it is encouraged to grow as an organ or tissue. This type of cloning is seen as a great benefit for treating people with diseases such as heart disease and different cancers using stem cell research. The basis of all cells in very tissue and organ of the body are stem cells. Stem cells can be programmed to develop in to any type of tissue or organ. Stem cells and the technology of therapeutic cloning can be used to create healthy organs and tissues to restore damaged parts of the human body.

Therapeutic and reproductive cloning both use the same Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer technique. They have different names because of what is intended of the clone, to reproduce organs and tissues for replacement in the body or to place an egg in the female uterus and create new life.

DNA cloning is also known as...

Bibliography: Baker, D. Anunson, M. and Cracraft, J. The Gene School. [Internet] Available from: [accessed 5 march, 2007(2007). Cloning fact sheet. Human Genome Program. Available from: [accessed 6 march, 2007](2003). Dolly goes to greener pastures. Science. Vol 229, no. 5610 February, p1163.
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