Human Cloning

Topics: Cloning, DNA, Genetics Pages: 25 (9512 words) Published: September 12, 2013
Research Paper on Human Cloning


The possibility of human cloning, raised when Scottish scientists at Roslin Institute created the much-celebrated sheep "Dolly", aroused worldwide interest and concern because of its scientific and ethical implications. The feat, cited by Science magazine as the breakthrough of 1997, also generated uncertainty over the meaning of "cloning" --an umbrella term traditionally used by scientists to describe different processes for duplicating biological material.

Given this information, you may ask, or maybe right now, you are wondering what actually “cloning” is. Biology defines cloning as the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. However, in Biotechnology, cloning is all about copying DNA fragments to produce a perfect “clone” of the specimen. Derived from the ancient greek word klon, meaning twig, it refers to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

In this research paper, my main goal is to make you understand and answer our questions on what cloning really is all about, and how it will affect our lives once it is successfully done. Yes, I have my questions as well regarding the process, and the main reason this is the topic I chose is because the idea seems to be both simple and complex at the same time. As to why, I will be answering that as we dig deeper into the topic.

Lastly, before we move to the next part of this very interesting research, you may want to know that “cloning” does not refer only to a single process. It has it’s own complexities, and there are several processes and methods in which cloning is divided and categorized. And now, into the topic we go.

Historical Background:

As a scientific and technical possibility, human cloning has emerged as an outgrowth of discoveries or innovations in developmental biology, genetics, assisted reproductive technologies, animal breeding, and, most recently, research on embryonic stem cells. Assisted reproductive techniques in humans accomplished the in vitro fertilization of a human egg, yielding a zygote and developing embryo that could be successfully implanted into a woman's uterus to give rise to a live-born child. Animal breeders developed and refined these techniques with a view to perpetuating particularly valuable animals and maintaining laboriously identified genomes. Most recently, the isolation of embryonic stem cells and their subsequent in vitro differentiation into many different cell types have opened up possibilities for repairing and replacing diseased or nonfunctioning tissue, and thus possible research uses for cloned human embryos. The German embryologist Hans Spemann conducted what many consider to be the earliest "cloning" experiments on animals. Spemann was interested in answering a fundamental question of biological development: does each differentiated cell retain the full complement of genetic information present initially in the zygote? In the late 1920s, he tied off part of a cell containing the nucleus from a salamander embryo at the sixteen-cell stage and allowed the single cell to divide, showing that the nucleus of that early embryo could, in effect, "start over." In a 1938 book, Embryonic Development and Induction, Spemann wondered whether more completely differentiated cells had the same capacity and speculated about the possibility of transferring the nucleus from a differentiated cell – taken from either a later-stage embryo or an adult organism – into an enucleated egg. As he explained it: "Decisive information about this question may perhaps be afforded by an experiment which appears, at first sight, to be somewhat fantastical. This experiment might possibly show that even nuclei of differentiated cells can initiate normal development in the egg protoplasms."  But Spemann did not know how to conduct such an...
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