Science Coursework - Biology
Mohammed Hamza Ahmad
Is cloning the way of the future?
Cloning is the process of asexually producing a group of cells (clones), all genetically identical, from a single ancestor. It is the scientific process of producing an exact duplicate of a gene, cell or organism.
Cloning requires an egg cell, and a donor cell. The nucleus, containing the DNA to be cloned, is removed from the donor cell, and then the donor nucleus is inserted into the empty egg. Afterwards the egg contains a full set of chromosomes as if it had been fertilised normally. A pulse of electricity, or a chemical 'shock', kick-starts the development process and the embryo begins to grow. Cell division begins.
It was first heard from Scientists in Scotland that they had successfully cloned a sheep called ‘Dolly’, who was the first mammal to be reproduced identically from an adult cell rather than from the embryo. She was born on the 5th of July 1996. Since then, Scientists have been going further with their research.
Cloning might seem successful, but there are some problems with the experiment. Even the successful ones develop problems later on like during the animals development to childhood.
Cloned animals tend to have a weaker immune system and higher rates of infection, tumour growth, and other disorders. They tend to die younger than they are expected to. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long term survival. Clones have been known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia's first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she diedi, and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.
Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. It requires a lot of expertise. The technique is so dangerous that it damages the embryos.
Should humans be cloned? That is the question most people ask, but it’s been said that there are some ethical, religious and legal issues surrounding cloning human.
Due to the inefficiency of animal cloning (only about 1 or 2 offspring for every 100 experimentsii) and the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning, many scientists and physicians strongly believe that it would be unethical to attempt to clone humans. Not only do most attempts to clone mammals fail, about 30% of clones born alive are affected with "large offspring syndrome"iii and other devastating conditions. Several cloned animals have died prematurely from infections and other complications. The same problems would be expected in human cloning. In addition, scientists do not know how cloning could affect mental development. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important for a sheep or cow, they are crucial for the development of healthy humans. With so many unanswerable questions concerning reproductive cloning, the attempt to clone humans at this time is considered potentially dangerous and morally wrong.
When a clone is produced of another human being, it is only their identical twin. Like any pair of identical twins, clones will have the same DNA, but different personalities, intelligence and talents.
Despite all these risks, problems and issues with cloning humans or animals,