"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life."
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
As scientists continue to piece together nature's mysteries of science, and as technology is becoming the dominating force in numerous areas worldwide, there is often a crucial piece of the puzzle that goes missing: responsibility. Though many people praise the abundant benefits of modern technology, few actually understand the principles that are being dealt with, and in many cases this leads to disrespect of technology and its place in the world. In order to make best use of technology, it should not be exploited nor applied to every situation depending on the immediate whim of humans. Rather, it should be measured, controlled and eyed carefully as a delicate gift containing many positive aspects, but also a gift which conceals an immense potential hazard if not used correctly. Humans now have within their grasp the ability and technology to create life, which may begin the demise of our society. Description
Cloning is the replication of an exact genetic copy of an organism by use of a somatic tissue (or cell) from the donor organism. There are two methods of cloning and it can be used in humans, human organs, or even animals. The first method, called embryo cloning, has been achieved years before in frogs, other amphibians, mammals, and once it was tried with humans, although both attempts with humans failed (Messina 27). The second method of cloning is achieved not by using and embryo, but an adult cell instead. To do this scientists remove an egg cell from a female and remove the chromosomes and nucleus, leaving no way for the mother interfere with the genetic part of the reproduction. The parts of the egg cell needed for cell growth and development are left intact, though, and the cell from an adult mammal is then taken away from its owner. Being placed in a cure dish, the cell is starved of nutrients, but is still kept alive. The reason for this is because the cell must stop dividing in order for cloning to take place. The nucleus from this cell is removed and placed next to the egg while electrical charges are emitted into them. These electrical charges make the two fuse, or combine together. After about six weeks, the egg cell, now artificially fertilized, is placed back into the uterus of another female of the same species. Allowed to grow and develop as normal, the baby is born after the normal amount of time needed to let a baby develop. The result: a physical clone of the animal (Wong 38). History
For the last few decades, cloning was a fictitious idea that lay deep within the pages of some sci-fi novels. The very idea that cloning could one day become reality was thought to be a scientific impossibility by many experts. One day, however, what was thought to be "purely fiction" became reality. That day was February 22, 1997. A team from the Roslin Institute, which was lead by Dr. Ian Wilmut, changed the face of history forever by revealing what looked like an average sheep (Kolata 18). That sheep was what was going to be the most famous sheep in modern day. Dolly was this seven month old Trojan lamb's name and Dolly was the first ever clone of a mammal. She was an exact biological carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit of her mother. In essence, Dolly was her mother's biological twin. What surprised most thought, was not just the fact that Dolly was a clone but was that the trick to Wilmut and his team's success was a trick that was so ingenious yet so simple that any skilled laboratory technician could master it, therein, laying a pathway towards a new future (Nash). This news shocked the world, for Dolly was the key to many new and prosperous possibilities. But Dolly was not the first clone ever. Cloning of a more limited sort had been done before her. Creatures mentioned...
Cited: Kolata, Gina. Clone: The Road to Dolly, and the Path Ahead. New York: W. Morrow & Company, 1998.
Messina, Lynn. Biotechnology. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2000.
Nash, Madeleine. "The Age of Cloning." Time 10 March 1997.
Shostak, Stanley. Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem Cell Therapy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Wong, Dominic. The ABCs of Gene Cloning. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1997.
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