Cloning in the New World

by BVA Scientific Lab Supplies, Chemistry Supplies & Chemisty Lab Su

For many people, their first real-world knowledge of cloning came with news of Dolly – the Scottish sheep that was cloned in 1996. For the most part, news of Dolly’s cloning was met with a mix of wonder and fear. Since then, no other such bombshells have been dropped on the unsuspecting public – at least, none that have garnered as much attention.

This has not signaled the death of present-day cloning. Instead, diligent efforts are being made to find practical uses for a process that stands to improve the lives of humans in meaningful ways. In fact, considering all of its present-day applications, scientists have referred to human cloning as one of the least interesting examples of the process. Let’s take a look at some of the more useful applications of cloning that could make major improvements to everyday life.

Production of Stem Cells: The topic of stem cells used to be (and to some extent, still is) a contentious issue. Previous methods of obtaining stem cells involved the use of embryonic and fetal sources. This issue sparked heated worldwide debates with respect to the sanctity of life. However, cloning stands to put an end to that debate.

Scientists are able to extract DNA from the skin cells of a patient and inject that DNA into an unfertilized egg cell provided by a donor. Finally, the nucleus of the skin cell is also introduced into the egg cell. This process produces an actual human clone of the patient who donated the DNA. This clone would be used to create tissue to replace damaged or missing organs, such as hearts, livers, and kidneys. Unlike the case with bone marrow transplants, the body’s immune system does not reject stem cells transferred between two people. Additionally, stem cells produced in this manner can also be used to cure individuals with genetic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Animal Models of Disease: Scientists use cloning to create animals with specific genetic diseases in order to run experiments. Formerly, scientists would have to rely on genetic engineering to obtain an animal with genetic mutations—a time-consuming and unpredictable process. Cloning could provide a ready supply of sick animals for scientific testing.

Agricultural: Cloning is also used to produce copies of existing plants. Plant tissue samples are bathed in a nutrient solution that triggers root production. Thus, plants that are productive as well as disease-resistant could be duplicated to boost farm production.

Scientists are also looking towards cloning farm animals, such as pigs and cows, that produce superior meat and milk. Cloned animals won’t be directly used for food or food production, as it is far less expensive to breed them naturally. Instead, cloned animals will be used as breeding stock. Despite this, animal cloning for meat and milk production received the stamp of approval in 2008, when the FDA deemed milk and meat products safe for human consumption.

Reviving Endangered or Extinct Animals: A number of scientists have already begun collecting the DNA material of animals on the brink of extinction, with the goal of cloning these endangered species. Scientists in Brazil have long been hoarding tissue and blood samples from the roadkill of the country’s most threatened endemic species, in hopes that science can pave a way for their reintroduction into the wild.

Although cloning extinct animals back into existence may seem like the stuff of science fiction movies, scientists are increasingly flirting with success. In 2009, experiments seeking to clone an extinct mountain goat called a bucardo produced an offspring that died soon after birth. In reality, some scientists are skeptical of any real progress made with extinct animals, owing to the loss of genetic diversity made unavoidable by cloning.

In the recent past, cloning was considered unethical. Additionally, those who experimented with it were considered irresponsible. Yet, with science revealing the true potential of cloning, scientists are using their knowledge for human advancement. The potential for cloning to cure genetic disorders and reverse the effects of heart disease and diabetes is staggering. Cloning has ushered in a new era of optimism for those who have long sought solutions for human suffering.

About BVA Scientific Junior   Lab Supplies, Chemistry Supplies & Chemisty Lab Su

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Created on Dec 31st 1969 19:00. Viewed 0 times.


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