HUMAN CLONING What is Human Cloning?

Cloning an organism involves replicating the DNA of that organism in a new organism that, as a result, has the same exact features and characteristics. Human Cloning would mean recreating the person that is being cloned. With the successful cloning of Dolly The Sheep, Human Cloning, long the staple of science fiction, is on the verge of becoming a reality. How would Human Cloning work? Human Cloning, if it is ever done, will be carried out by the same method that brought forth Dolly, Reproductive Cloning.
In Reproductive Cloning, the nucleus is removed from a body cell of the organism to be cloned and this nucleus is inserted into an enucleated egg, that is, an egg whose nucleus has previously been removed. The egg with the new nucleus is then treated to electric or chemical treatment to simulate cell division. The resulting embryo is transferred to a host uterus to develop properly and eventually be given birth to. The new-born organism will be a replica of the original organism, but not the exact same actually, since it will have DNA derived from both the organism as well as the egg.

Why would Human Cloning be done? Cloning animals, especially endangered species, is one way of preserving the species from dying out entirely. But why would anyone want to clone human beings? There are enough of us already on the planet without resources enough for the well-being of all of us. So why bother to clone?
Well, one reason is pure scientific research. We've already come a long way. After Dolly, scientists have managed to clone various animals. So cloning humans seems the next logical step and a very important one it would be too. Cloning humans could also prove a major breakthrough as far as cloning for therapeutic purposes is concerned. Cloning could be used to produce new organs for organ transplants. Since the cloned organ, produced from a body cell of the person needing the transplant, would have the same genetic code, there would be less risk of the body rejecting the new, transplanted organ. Cloning could also be used to treat Cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, and host of other illnesses. Cloning would allow infertile couples to have their own genetic offspring or otherwise normal couples to order designer babies. It could also be used to bring back to life your dead ancestors. So if you want to give birth to your great-great-grandmother, you can. Just as long you managed to preserve some samples of her body cells. One American couple reportedly is willing to pay $500,000 to clone their dead infant daughter. And then there are some who would like to clone themselves and thereby achieve eternal life.

Is it ethical to go ahead and clone humans? Well, sometimes one of a kind is more than one can tolerate. But, on the serious side, many of the leading Scientists involved in cloning research, like Ian Wilmut and Richard Gardner, have expressed serious doubts and ethical dilemmas over the cloning of human beings.
Firstly, reproductive cloning is not yet a fool-proof method. It took 272 attempts before Dolly was produced. This means 272 embryos either failed to develop properly or were discarded as defective. In other cases, if the embryos weren't miscarried, a large percentage of the animals born showed a

Scientists studying a particular gene often use bacterial plasmids to generate multiple copies of the same gene. distinct from the normal bacterial genome (see image to the right). (2) reproductive cloning. aroused worldwide interest and concern because of its scientific and ethical implications. raised when Scottish scientists at Roslin Institute created the muchcelebrated sheep "Dolly" (Nature 385. The following three types of cloning technologies will be discussed: (1) recombinant DNA technology or DNA cloning." "DNA cloning. Is Human Cloning legally allowed? Reproductive Cloning of Humans is banned is many countries around the world." and "gene cloning" all refer to the same process: the transfer of a DNA fragment of interest from one organism to a selfreplicating genetic element such as a bacterial plasmid.high degree of abnormality and died quickly or had to be euthanized. handicapped babies in the very same manner. including the USA and the UK. but there is already a clamor against it from religious and pro-life organizations. Introduction The possibility of human cloning. many of whom are more acquainted with its theological implications than its theoretical possibilities. many people consider it unethical to go ahead and clone. The DNA of interest can then be propagated in a foreign host cell. . Therapeutic Cloning is allowed to some degree. Recombinant DNA Technology or DNA Cloning The terms "recombinant DNA technology. Those successfully cloned have showed many health problems and none have lived to a ripe old age so far. and allowed in some. also generated uncertainty over the meaning of "cloning" --an umbrella term traditionally used by scientists to describe different processes for duplicating biological material. Plasmids and other types of cloning vectors were used by Human Genome Project researchers to copy genes and other pieces of chromosomes to generate enough identical material for further study. obviously many moral problems would arise with treating defective human embryos or new-born. The feat. and cloning technologies can be used for other purposes besides producing the genetic twin of another organism. they are usually talking about only one type called reproductive cloning. cited by Science magazine as the breakthrough of 1997. What is cloning? Are there different types of cloning? When the media report on cloning in the news." "molecular cloning. 1997). There is also no way of predicting what the intelligence level and capabilities of a human clone would be. This technology has been around since the 1970s. After all. Now. and it has become a common practice in molecular biology labs today. we have no way of knowing exactly what sort of a person a normally conceived embryo will turn out to be either. What would be the psychological and societal implications for it as an individual? What kind of a life or future would it have? Since we don't know. Plasmids are self-replicating extra-chromosomal circular DNA molecules. 810-13. since human beings consider themselves a class apart. But that argument doesn't hold much water with others. A basic understanding of the different types of cloning is key to taking an informed stance on current public policy issues and making the best possible personal decisions. and (3) therapeutic cloning. There are different types of cloning however.

Celebrity Sheep Died at Age 6 Dolly. BACs utilize the naturally occurring F-factor plasmid found in E. other than her cancer and arthritis. Bacteria are most often used as the host cells for recombinant DNA molecules. Cosmids are artificially constructed cloning vectors that carry up to 45 kb of foreign DNA and can be packaged in lambda phage particles for infection into E.To "clone a gene. has been removed. Dolly was created by reproductive cloning technology. In a process called "somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT). Dolly's success is truly remarkable because it proved that the genetic material from a specialized adult cell. egg. See a diagram depicting this process. bacteria artificial chromosomes (BACs). Once the cloned embryo reaches a suitable stage. scientists transfer genetic material from the nucleus of a donor adult cell to an egg whose nucleus. Image credit: Roslin Institute Image Acquired mutations in mitochondrial DNA are believed to Library play an important role in the aging process. could be reprogrammed to generate an entire new organism. Plasmids can carry up to 20." a DNA fragment containing the gene of interest is isolated from chromosomal DNA using restriction enzymes and then united with a plasmid that has been cut with the same restriction enzymes. Prior to her death. she Dolly or any other animal created using nuclear transfer appeared to be quite normal. deformity. and yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs). Besides bacterial plasmids. the first mammal to be cloned from adult DNA. 2003. and disability observed among animal clones. which are organelles that serve as power sources to the cell. Some scientists believe that errors or incompleteness in the reprogramming process cause the high rates of death. contain their own short segments of DNA. the change was permanent and other unneeded genes in the cell would become inactive. Therapeutic Cloning . The reconstructed egg containing the DNA from a donor cell must be treated with chemicals or electric current in order to stimulate cell division. some other cloning vectors include viruses. such as an udder cell programmed to express only those genes needed by udder cells. Some of the clone's genetic materials come her creation. postmortem examination of Dolly seemed to indicate that. the recombinant DNA can then be reproduced along with the host cell DNA. Dolly was a mother to six from the mitochondria in the cytoplasm of the enucleated lambs. The technology is not truly an identical clone of the donor animal. Although most Finn Dorset sheep live to be 11 to 12 years of age. or any other type of cell." Following introduction into suitable host cells. coli to carry 100. bone. Dolly had been suffering from lung cancer and crippling arthritis. coli cells.000 bp of foreign DNA. Reproductive Cloning Reproductive cloning is a technology used to generate an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another currently or previously existing animal. 14. udder. it is transferred to the uterus of a female host where it continues to develop until birth. it is called a "recombinant DNA 300-kb DNA inserts. unnamed sheep from which Dolly was Only the clone's chromosomal or nuclear DNA is the same cloned had died several years prior to as the donor. but yeast and mammalian cells also are used. When the fragment of chromosomal DNA is joined with its cloning vector in the lab. and thus its genetic material. Before this demonstration. scientists believed that once a cell became specialized as a liver. bred the old-fashioned way. A YAC is a functional chromosome derived from yeast that can carry up to 1 MB of foreign DNA. was put down by lethal injection Feb. Mitochondria. heart.

Many researchers hope that one day stem cells can be used to serve as replacement cells to treat heart disease.Therapeutic cloning. also called "embryo cloning. and only one was able to divide into six cells before stopping. such as gene therapy. With genome sequencing. See more on the potential use of cloning in organ transplants. a biotechnology company in Massachusetts. genetic engineering of organisms. the first animal. Cloning extinct animals presents a much greater challenge to scientists because the egg and the surrogate needed to create the cloned embryo would be of a species different from the clone. clones were . How can cloning technologies be used? Recombinant DNA technology is important for learning about other related technologies. announced that they had cloned the first human embryos for the purpose of advancing therapeutic research. The goal of this process is not to create cloned human beings. the first mammal cloned from the cell of an adult animal. an endangered wild sheep. the first clone of an endangered wild animal was born. scientists in Italy reported the successful cloning of a healthy baby mouflon. To do this. a tadpole. A skin cell was inserted inside the enucleated egg to serve as a new nucleus. The results were limited in success. What animals have been cloned? Scientists have been cloning animals for many years. In 2001. The young gaur died from an infection about 48 hours after its birth. For example. Although this process was carried out with eight eggs." is the production of human embryos for use in research. The cloned mouflon is living at a wildlife center in Sardinia. See a diagram on constructing clones for sequencing. Genes from different organisms that improve taste and nutritional value or provide resistance to particular types of disease can be used to genetically engineer food crops. and the giant panda. which raises a variety of ethical concerns. In 2001. cancer.000th of an inch wide. fragments of chromosomal DNA must be inserted into different cloning vectors to generate fragments of an appropriate size for sequencing. Stem cells are extracted from the egg after it has divided for 5 days. only three began dividing. The extraction process destroys the embryo. Other endangered species that are potential candidates for cloning include the African bongo antelope. See Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms for more information. Stem cells are important to biomedical researchers because they can be used to generate virtually any type of specialized cell in the human body. In November 2001. Much work still needs to be done before therapeutic cloning can become a realistic option for the treatment of disorders. drug-producing animals or animals that have been genetically altered to serve as models for studying human disease could be mass produced. The egg began to divide after it was stimulated with a chemical called ionomycin. Therapeutic cloning technology may some day be used in humans to produce whole organs from single cells or to produce healthy cells that can replace damaged cells in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. the Sumatran tiger. Before the creation of Dolly. but rather to harvest stem cells that can be used to study human development and to treat disease. was cloned. a wild ox called a gaur. and other diseases. The egg at this stage of development is called a blastocyst. Alzheimer's. 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. scientists from Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT). reproductive cloning can be used to develop efficient ways to reliably reproduce animals with special qualities. If the low success rates can be improved (Dolly was only one success out of 276 tries). and sequencing genomes. Reproductive cloning also could be used to repopulate endangered animals or animals that are difficult to breed. In 1952. they collected eggs from women's ovaries and then removed the genetic material from these eggs with a needle less than 2/10.

Attempts at cloning certain species have been unsuccessful. Why pigs? Primates would be a closer match genetically to humans. however. Of the animal species that have been cloned successfully. a British biotechnology company reported that it was the first to produce "double knock-out" pigs that have been genetically engineered to lack both copies of a gene involved in transplant rejection. and a gaur. and improvements in cloning technologies may be needed before many species can be cloned successfully. The scientists then harvested fetal tissue from the clones and transplanted it into the donor cow. Another potential application of cloning to organ transplants is the creation of genetically modified pigs from which organs suitable for human transplants could be harvested . but they are more difficult to clone and have a much lower rate of reproduction. More effective technologies for creating human embryos. scientists with the same biotech company reported that they had successfully transplanted kidney-like organs into cows. embryonic stem cells that can be transformed into any type of tissue would be harvested. cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection. pig tissues and organs are more similar to those of humans. rabbits. scientists with the biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) reported that they had cloned the first human embryos. mice. Since little is known about manipulating embryonic stem cells from cows. In theory. cats. Since Dolly. The stem cells would be used to generate an organ or tissue that is a genetic match to the recipient. pigs. goats. the need for organ donation could be significantly reduced. To create a "knock-out" pig. Many challenges must be overcome before "cloned organ" transplants become reality. scientists must inactivate the genes that cause the human immune system to reject an implanted pig organ. harvesting stem cells. Some species may be more resistant to somatic cell nuclear transfer than others. but the number of different species is limited. no sign of immune rejection was observed in the transplant recipient. If organs could be generated from cloned human embryos. In 2002. In addition to low success rates. After the egg containing the patient's DNA starts to divide. Hundreds of cloned animals exist today. See Cloned Animals below. All these clones were created using nuclear transfer technology. tumor growth. The transplant of organs and tissues from animals to humans is called xenotransplantation. researchers have cloned a number of large and small animals including sheep. The team of researchers created a cloned cow embryo by removing the DNA from an egg cell and then injecting the DNA from the skin cell of the donor cow's ear. cows. In February 2002. Japanese studies . DNA would be extracted from the person in need of a transplant and inserted into an enucleated egg. the only embryo to survive the cloning process stopped developing after dividing into six cells. the cloned organ could then be transplanted into the patient without the risk of tissue rejection. The genes are knocked out in individual cells. In the three months of observation following the transplant. The process of stripping the nucleus from an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus of a donor cell is a traumatic one. and producing organs from stem cells would have to be developed. To do this. Can organs be cloned for use in transplants? Scientists hope that one day therapeutic cloning can be used to generate tissues and organs for transplants. the scientists let the cloned embryos develop into fetuses. which are then used to create clones from which organs can be harvested. What are the risks of cloning? Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More research is needed to study the transplantation of organs from "knock-out" pigs to other animals. In 2001. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone. and other disorders.created from embryonic cells. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring.

Problems also may result from programming errors in the genetic material from a donor cell..have shown that cloned mice live in poor health and die early. When an embryo is created from the union of a sperm and an egg. and many of them were abnormally large. this could have been a plot of a sci-fi thriller. a figment of imagination. others swear by its benefits. In analyzing more than 10. this concept seemed to have turned into a reality. scientists do not know how cloning could impact mental development. The U. See the Cloning Ethics links below for more information about the human cloning debate. 'A powerful clone of a human being comes to the rescue of mankind'. In 2002. reported that the genomes of cloned mice are compromised. Australia's first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she died. While scientists all over the world. a group of scientists led by Dr. The same problems would be expected in human cloning. they are crucial for the development of healthy humans. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long-term survival. Massachusetts. many scientists and physicians strongly believe that it would be unethical to attempt to clone humans. an event far from becoming true. Due to the inefficiency of animal cloning (only about 1 or 2 viable offspring for every 100 experiments) and the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning. about 30% of clones born alive are affected with "large-offspring syndrome" and other debilitating conditions.000 liver and placenta cells of cloned mice. they discovered that about 4% of genes function abnormally. Not only do most attempts to clone mammals fail. See thePolicy and Legislation links below. Human Cloning Facts While some believe that human cloning tantamounts to tinkering with nature. Several cloned animals have died prematurely from infections and other complications. Many cloned animals have not lived long enough to generate good data about how clones age. the embryo receives copies of most genes from both parents. About a third of the cloned calves born alive have died young. Congress has considered the passage of legislation that could ban human cloning. However. The abnormalities do not arise from mutations in the genes but from changes in the normal activation or expression of certain genes.S. Here are some human cloning facts that would enable us to understand what exactly is human cloning and why has it become such a controversy. Defects in the genetic imprint of DNA from a single donor cell may lead to some of the developmental abnormalities of cloned embryos. researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge. with the creation of Dolly (the sheep). were still mulling over the landmark breakthroughs that increasing knowledge in the field of human genetics seemed to promise. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important for a cow or a mouse. Clones have been known to die mysteriously.. Should humans be cloned? Physicians from the American Medical Association and scientists with the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued formal public statements advising against human reproductive cloning. the attempt to clone humans at this time is considered potentially dangerous and ethically irresponsible. For example. With so many unknowns concerning reproductive cloning. In addition. Till 1996. A process called "imprinting" chemically marks the DNA from the mother and father so that only one copy of a gene (either the maternal or paternal gene) is turned on. and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death. Ian Wilmut in the Roslin .

his body would not reject it. But we need to know the human cloning pros and cons before we can form an opinion about its rationality. Also who knows. Human Cloning Drawbacks Now for some human cloning drawbacks. Read more on stem cell research facts. which is now referred to as the zygote. Right since the cloning of Dolly. However. much of this debate revolves around human cloning. These stem cells could then be grown into organs of the human body like the skin. instead of implanting the embryo into a mother's womb. This would provide a life changing line of treatment for amputees. Human Cloning Facts . is another of the human cloning benefits. it is implanted in the surrogate mother using the technique of invitro fertilization. Dolly was created with this method. y y y y Infertility Treatment: Human cloning could be a blessing for infertile couples. however healthy a lifestyle he leads. Treating Diseases: As already discussed. Human Cloning Benefits Here are some human cloning benefits. spinal cord injury and organ failure. These organs would then be used to replace the original defunct organs of the donor. Once a desired level of cell division has been achieved by the egg. This nucleus is then inserted into an egg whose nucleus has already been removed. To understand it all.Institute in Scotland. This results in the integration of the donor nucleus with the host egg and triggers cell division. How is this done? In this case the nucleus of a cell. Therapeutic cloning holds promise to those suffering from degenerative nervous system disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. . Since then cloning has been a debate both for its scientific as well as ethical implications. This type of cloning is known as reproductive cloning. liver and heart. that is. In this procedure. Advances in human cloning will help him to replace the defective genes with healthy ones Cosmetic Treatment: Relieving individuals of the diseases that are caused due to plastic or cosmetic surgery. Since the new organ would be created from the genetic material of the person suffering from the disease. it could also be used to regenerate whole limbs. as reproductive cloning does not involve the fusion of the sex cells. interest in cloning a human being has been on the rise in the scientific community. Replacing Defective Genes: Defective genes would cause sickness in an individual. the embryo is grown to develop into stem cells. Therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research are being explored by scientists to provide answers to a number of diseases of mankind. The other type of cloning is therapeutic cloning. Read more on pros and cons of cloning.Human Cloning Pros and Cons Cloning a human being is a big step. we need to know some human cloning facts first. the first successful endeavor in the field of animal cloning. from the donor (which has to be cloned) is isolated from the cell. The egg is then subjected to chemical treatment or jolts of electricity. created Dolly. therapeutic human cloning can be used to treat a number of degenerative diseases like those of the nervous system. What is Human Cloning? The simplest explanation of human cloning is the creation of a copy of another human being without involving sexual reproduction using sperms and eggs.

it would start its life as an infant. . daughter or son of the donor. the fact is that human cloning has a lot of potential and at present. scientists led by Panayiotis Zavos. human cloning raises a serious ethical concern like: y y y y y y Should we play God and decide whether and how human babies will be born? Human clones may now be created for medical reason. For example a group of Japanese scientists who had cloned a dozen mice reported that the animals died early. The clone would not have a biological father and mother as it is the result of asexual reproduction. The cloned individual could not be called the sibling. Human cloning facts reflect the urge of many to achieve this incredible feat. Such organisms often show tumorous growths. but who would do that and how? Even if it is therapeutic cloning. Besides the scientific angle to its fallout. other disorders and tend to die young. Be it out of concern for the medical benefits it promises. Human Cloning Ethics Is human cloning wrong? This question plagues many a mind. He/ she would have the relationship of being a clone of the DNA donor. or due to the frenzy of a genius mind. Quick Human Cloning Facts Here are some quick human cloning facts: y y y y y y y A clone is not an exact copy of the donor of the genetic material. there hasn't been any success in cloning human beings. as the mitochondrial DNA does not come from the donor. Experiments with animals show that the success rate of animal cloning is quite low. Although a clone is formed from cell of an adult.y y y Low Success Rate: Cloning technology is still at its infancy. Out of them only 30 started to divide and 9 induced pregnancy. say just to create a younger copy of an older individual. human clones may be created for other reasons. a human being is quite affected by his experiences and environment and these would always be different for the DNA donor and his clone. Disorders In Off-springs: Cloned animals tend to have weak immune systems. Expensive and Extensive Procedure: Cloning Dolly involved 277 eggs. Also. due to which they are prone to infections. But with the advancement in scientific technology. Human cloning is legally banned in many countries. Only 1 out of them survived to term. Despite a couple of claims. Wouldn't this be an insult of humanity on the whole? What would be the place of a child in the society who has been created through cloning? What would be the social challenges that he would face? Who would be the parents of such a child? Maybe human cloning would be regulated. In 2001. announced that they would clone a human in two years time. This and other attempts with grave consequences cast a cloud of doubt over the rationality of cloning human beings. It is legal in Great Britain for therapeutic purposes only. human cloning needs to be tightly regulated. many regard it to cause destruction of the embryo. More than 90% of the efforts to produce a viable offspring in animals have failed.

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