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Cloning - Essay Example

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Cloning Cloning can be defined as the asexual production of an original’s exact copy. Cloning can be performed to produce a single cell’s exact copy that is identical to the original cell and has exactly the same DNA sequence. Cloning is often used to form type specific cells…
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Cloning Cloning can be defined as the asexual production of an original’s exact copy. Cloning can be performed to produce a single cell’s exact copythat is identical to the original cell and has exactly the same DNA sequence. Cloning is often used to form type specific cells. Cloning has also been performed on a scale as large as an individual organism an example of which was the sheep Dolly. There is a single parent in cloning unlike the reproduction which happens with the mating of two parents; a male and a female. Some plants have been demonstrating the process of cloning for thousands of years, but their contribution in the ethical debates about the legitimacy of cloning of animals or humans is nil. Cloning is of three basic types; gene cloning, reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning (Medline Plus, 2013). Gene cloning, as the name indicates, produces copies of the segments of DNA or genes. Reproductive cloning develops the copes of full animals. Therapeutic cloning is the process in which embryonic stem cells are created. These cells can be used to develop healthy tissue for the replacement of injured tissues. The history of cloning ranges over the past century (The University of Utah, 2013). It was in the 1950s when the scientists attempted the reproductive cloning of animals for the first time. The sheep Dolly was cloned in the year 1996. DNA from the parents of Dolly was transferred into an egg without a nucleus; a process referred to as the “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (Ellis-Christensen, 2013). This cell was stimulated to grow with the help of treatment with chemicals so that the cloned sheep’s exact replicate could be produced. However, Dolly was not its parent’s precise clone. Although it carried the same DNA, yet some of the donor cell’s genetic materials were also ingrained in the parentage of Dolly. Its 0.01 per cent presence in the DNA of Dolly made a negligible difference. Dolly’s cloning was complicated as it took up to 277 donor eggs along with the production of 29 embryos to achieve a live birth (Ellis-Christensen, 2013). Despite its genetic abnormalities and complications, cloning of a living organism has been achieved in the form of Dolly. However, there is a lot of controversy and criticism surrounding the idea of human cloning, because of which, it has not been performed as yet. Proponents of human cloning are of the view that cloning of human tissues might be valuable since organs could be produced for transplant. Opponents of human cloning suggest that it is unethical to do it. David King from the Human Genetics Alert said, “Scientists have finally delivered the baby that would-be human cloners have been waiting for: a method for reliably creating cloned human embryos…It is imperative we create an international ban on human cloning before any more research like this takes place. It is irresponsible in the extreme to have published this” (King cited in McKie, 2013). Concerns against human cloning are not only grounded in religion, but also scientists that have no religious affiliation think that ethical issues associated with prolonging life by way of cloning of tissues needs to be scrutinized further. Human cloning (McKie, 2013). There is a range of pros and cons of cloning. A very important issue related to the legitimacy of cloning is the type of thing that is to be cloned. Cloning plants or animals seems more beneficial since they can be drawn benefits from compared to cloning humans. The benefits of cloning plants include the production of disease-free crops. The issues of hunger in the world can be addressed by cloning superior plants that have high nutritional value. The predictability of cloned plants saves money otherwise used in farming. Right cloning programs can save the plants that are about to become extinct. The cloning of domesticated animals like cows and goats is beneficial for the same reasons since they are sources of food. In addition, cloning can be used to preserve the extinguishing species of certain animals. The con of cloning is that full cloning of plants or animals can cause lack of the DNA diversity that is required to ensure sustainability in unpredictable circumstances. While the susceptibility of natural organisms to viruses and infections can be predicted, it is difficult to estimate the viruses or infections that the cloned species might acquire. Concluding, cloning is the asexual reproduction of exact copies of organisms. Over the past century, this technique has developed a lot. Many successful experiments like that of Dolly have helped create new knowledge in this field. Cloning has numerous pros and cons, but the technique is considered quite controversial and condemnable when it comes to human cloning. References: Ellis-Christensen, T 2013, What is Cloning? [Online] Available at http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-cloning.htm [accessed: 5 June 2013]. McKie, R 2013, Human cloning developments raise hopes for new treatments, The Guardian, [Online] Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/18/human-cloning-heart-disease-genes [accessed: 5 June 2013]. Medline Plus 2013, Cloning, [Online] Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cloning.html [accessed: 5 June 2013]. The University of Utah 2013, The Clone Zone, [Online] Available at http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/cloning/clonezone/ [accessed: 5 June 2013]. Read More
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