Cloning is a process of asexual reproduction by which genetically identical individuals may be produced. The successful cloning of a sheep (Dolly) was reported by scientists from the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, UK. But, the world’s first cloning of a dog has raised concerns that scientists are one step closer to replicating human beings, despite the breakthrough pointing to treatments per currently – incurable human diseases. A group of scientists from Seol National University has unveiled their furry creation, a black and white Afghan hound name Snuppy that is genetically identical to its three – year old father.
Cloning, which is thought to be one of the latest technological developments as most of the people think, is actually an age-old scientific technique. Humans have knowledge of cloning from before at least 2000 years. Most of the plants we see today are cloned. Unlike animal cloning, plant cloning doesn’t involve any sophistication. Just grafting the cut plant does the job where as animal cloning involves mitosis.
Recombinant DNA technology is important for learning about other related technology such as gene therapy, genetic engineering of organisms, and sequencing genomes. Gene therapy can be used to treat certain genetic conditions by introducing virus vectors that carry corrected copies of faulty genes into the cells of a host organism. Genes from different organisms that improves taste and nutritional value or provide resistance to particular type of disease can be used to genetically engineer food crops.
Scientists hope that one day therapeutic cloning can be used to generate tissues and organs for transplants. To do this, DNA would be extracted from the person in need of a transplant and inserted into an enucleated egg. After the egg containing the patient ‘s DNA starts to divide, the embryonic stem cells that can be transformed into any type of tissue would be harvested. The stem cells would be used to generate an organ or tissue that is a genetic match to the recipient. In theory, the cloned organ could then be transplanted into the patient without the risk of tissue rejection.
There are some risks of cloning too. Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. In addition to low success rates, cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth, and other disorders.
‘Should humans be cloned?’ is the new question of many scientists and physicians. Due to the inefficiency of animal cloning and the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning, many scientists and physicians strongly believe that it would be unethical to attempt to clone humans. Several cloned animals have died prematurely. The same problems would be expected in human cloning too. In addition, scientists do not know how cloning impact mental development. With so many unknown concerning reproductive cloning, the attempt to clone humans at this time is considered potentially dangerous and ethically irresponsible.