Cloning is a process that occurs when a tiny part of DNA, known as a gene, is removed from an organism and put in to a different section of DNA; called splicing. The second DNA can be of the first organism, or of another organism. The gene sized DNA is isolated using restriction enzymes. The enzymes break the molecule at a certain place known as the cleavage site. This part of DNA now needs to be put back together with the other molecules, using another enzyme, known as ligase. The hybrid molecule resulted is known as recombinant DNA. When recombinant DNA are mixed with other cells, some take the recombinant DNA, and grow. Each of the transformed cells with the added DNA information grows overnight to a colony of millions of cells. The colony represents a clone, a group of genetically identical cells. There have been several examples of successful cloning, such as the 1996 cloning of a sheep, which was named Dolly. This experiment was led by Ian Wilmut.
Cloning may help humans in many ways. For example, livestock of superior quality could be cloned for farmers. This new type of livestock would provide higher quality meat, milk, and wool. People could also clone animals that produce human proteins and other substances used in medical drugs. A different way cloning could help humans, is to clone household animals. Several of the world’s wealthy have wanted to clone a deceased pet, but a process such as that would cost a huge amount, and the end result might not be what was desired. An example is CC the cat. She was a successful clone of Rainbow the cat. But problems arose in the behavior of cloning. CC ended up with a different colored fur, but in the same pattern as Rainbow. The two cats had different personalities, different physical builds, and eating habits. This shows that cloning merely recreates the genotype, not the phenotype. This basically means that Rainbow was not completely duplicated, only her genetics were used to create a cat, whose view on the world is different from Rainbow’s. An interesting point in animal cloning is that no dog has been cloned yet, when cats have. Overall, animal cloning is an exciting new area opened to science, but not all of it has been understood.
CC and Rainbow
Human cloning, even though similar to animal cloning in science, brings upon much more problems in other areas. It is seen as against Christianity to some, that humans should not be creating life unnaturally, especially by duplicating genes of an existing person. But to others who support human cloning, it is related to Christianity in a positive way, in that when a person perhaps is injured beyond save, he might be able to be cloned, which is a type of resurrection to life. But if the science eventually reaches the point when any chosen person could be cloned, there is no immediate duplication. The clone would start from birth, creating a huge time span for the person to grow, and also, problems such as with animal cloning could arise. Human cloning is currently banned in many countries, that even though there might be scientific and knowledge gained from attempts at it, the risks run too big. However, there are many underground human cloning organizations which illegally work towards the day which human cloning will be accomplished, if not accomplished legally. In fact, many animal cloners and experts are almost certain that a human has already been cloned in secret. But despite following morals and ethics, there are also the good people who are driven by a sense of fear and lost who desperately support cloning. Whatever the future holds for human cloning, it will not be a smooth journey for either sides to win.
- Alexander, Brian. "(You)2." Wired. 5 Aug. 2004 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.021projectx.html>. "Operation Copycat." The Cat Gallery. 10 Aug. 2004 <http://www.thecatgallery.com/cloned_kitten.html>.