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Artificial clone

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Image showing two sheep to express the idea of cloning

Introduction

Cloning has been a process mankind has been interested in since the late 1800's. [1] It started with someone shaking a two cell embryo and may some day end with return of dinosaurs, or even more, a cloned human. There is and always will be a question of is it ethical to play with powers that we should not be able to decide. Things and people come and go in this world. Animals go extinct either through natural selection or through the removal of habitat as mankind expands its hold on the world. Deciding to bring back such an item or an animal may prove to be a bad decision. Playing with stems cells to help save a person and stop a disease has the potential to do just that, but what if these very same researchers accidentally create a super virus while trying to save mankind.

First Clone

An image of Dolly the cloned sheep

Dolly the sheep was not the first cloned animal, but she was the most famous. The first clone title belongs to another sheep cloned in 1984 in Cambridge, UK. [2]. Dolly was a series of experiments at the Roslin Institute. They were working on building a genetically modified livestock. If this was successful, it would have lead to less animals testing for future experiences. [2]. Scientists also wanted to understand how cells worked and how they changed, they were curious if they could use a skin or brain cell to create a whole new animal [2]. Due to the types of experiments they were working on for this project, the team was very diverse including vets, scientists, farm staff, and embryologists. [2] Dolly was created by a single cell from a mammary gland of a sick sheep and a one year old Finn Dorset sheep and an egg cell taken from a Scottish blackface sheep; she was born to her surrogate Scottish Blackfaced sheep mother on July 5, 1996 [2]. The fact she was born with a white face helped to prove she was a clone because if she had been a real sheep from the mother she would have got the Black faced sheep characteristic [2]. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell; this birth proved that specialized cells could be used to create exact copies of animals they came from [2]. This discovery created more possibilities for biology and medicines, such as personalized stem cells [2]. Dolly, however, was not the first mammal to be cloned; a sheep from Cambridge, Uk was the first clone. She was cloned from an embryo cell [2]. there were also two other sheep named Megan and Morag, who were also cloned from embryonic cells grown in a lab at The Roslin Institute [2]. There were six other sheep that got cloned from foetal and embryonic cells at Roslin [2]. There was the question however, is Dolly older than a normal one year old sheep, and by this they meant were her telomeres shorter because she got her DNA from the adult sheep [2]. There were later tests done to Dolly and there was nothing seen as premature aging or harmful conditions because of the cloning [2]. Dolly then spent her life at the Roslin Institute as a normal sheep, she gave birth to a few other sheep before she was put down at the age of six because she developed tumors in her lungs [2]. Animals are not the only artificial clones however. there have been many other items such as fruits. All apples, potatoes, grapes, strawberries, and bananas are examples of artificial clones. These fruits are cloned by the process of asexual propagation. asexual reproduction is when the underground stems get cut up into pieces and replanted. One of the main concerns with this cloning idea is whether the plants will develop too many viruses and diseases as each generation develops. The next concern with artificial cloning is how moral it is. If humans clone animals and keep them in cages to just lay eggs their whole life, are we serving God and the creation mandate well? Humans have to be very wise with the power of artificial cloning because it can get out of hand quickly and build up diseases that are hard to stop after they start. The FDA disagrees with human concerns however, the FDA says that all products from cloned animals are safe to eat and drink.

The Evolution of Cloning

Cloning has changes from the first sheep to food and now is looking towards humans.

Through time people have dreamed of cloning and making something gone return, making a loved one to see them again, or just for science to see if it was possible. The process has been going on since the late 1800's. Starting in 1885, with the first ever demonstration of an artificial embryo twinning [1]. Hans Adolf Eduard Dresch was able to shake the embryo of a two celled sea urchin and get it to separate. This proved that each cell held a full set of genetic instructions making to possible to create two complete sea urchins. [1]. Hans Spemann discovered that he could make a small noose from baby hairs and tighten them between two cells. After doing this he discovered that embryos of more complex animals could be twinned, but only in certain stages of development. [1]. Spemann later tried this same technique on another fertilized salamander egg. He discovered that the nucleus early in embryonic cell development directs the growth of a salamander. [1]. Robert Briggs and Thomas King were the first to have a successful nuclear transfer. The specimen was a frog, this tadpole embryo was transferred into a enucleated frog egg. This process proved nuclear transfer could be used effectively for cloning and it proved that the nucleus directs cell growth and early development embryonic cells are better for cloning than older cells. [1]. John Gurdon transplanted the nucleus of a tadpole into an enucleated frog egg, creating genetically identical frogs. This proved that fully developed cells could be used for cloning and maybe fully developed cells hold all their DNA even after differentiating. [1]. J. Derek Bromhall was the first person to transfer the nucleus from a rabbit embryo cell into a enucleated egg cell. Bromhall, however, did not finish the experiment, he never put the embryo into a rabbit's womb to see if the embryo would keep developing. [1].

Is Cloning Ethical?

China has mastered dog cloning and will soon try the same principle on humans.

One can ask if cloning is ethical. That question would have to be looked at from multiple angles such as the scientific and biological perspective. In 1997, California placed a five year moratorium on the cloning of an entire human being. [3]. Stem cell research was once banned under President Reagan leading William Langston to believe this was a serious set back for Parkinson's research [3]. President Bush limited the stem cell research to 64 separate stem cell lines, which is far too, if you ask Mr Langston. [3]. From a scientific prospective, there are many positives for stem cell research and cloning to help cure diseases and other issues for mankind. From a religious prospective, Suzanne Holland, a assistant professor of Religious and Social Ethics at the University of Puget Sound, has concerns of pride and sin that help her believe that it is unethical to clone humans [3]. She argues there should be an outright ban based on her beliefs that and this also should include the entire fertility industry. Laurie Zoloth, also from University of Puget Sound, has a different set of beliefs based on Jewish ethics which vary greatly when it comes to reproductive cloning [3]. Some things Zoloth cited as a justification of research are: the human embryo does not have status as a human being, there is a commandment to heal, and the world is uncompleted and requires humans intervention to become whole,[3] So to close out the ethics side of the discussion it really depends, on background and view points as to if it is a ethical progression of human nature to want to expand our abilities.

Video

A video explaining the process of Dolly the sheep was cloned.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Learn Genetics [1] "the history of cloning" Web May 14, 2019 (accessed)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 The University of Edinburgh [2] "The life of Dolly" Web May 7, 2019 (accessed)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Markkula Center for Applied Ethics [3] "The Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research" Web May 14th, 2019 (accessed)