What is Cloning?
January 16, 2007 3:08am CST
Cloning is the most attractive story of the new biotechnologiesand the one which causes the most heated discussion over its w orth. Here are answers to the most common questions about cloning. 1. What is cloning? Cloning is the creation of cells or whole animals using DNA the normal reproductive process. The clone has the same DNA to th e parent. 2. Is cloning unnatural? No. Clones are always produced by natural means in the shape of identical twins. 3. How are clones created? The most common process takes DNA from one cell and puts in a hollowed-out egg. Chemicals and electricity are then used to encourage the new DNA to fuse with the egg and develop into an embryo. This t echnique is called nuclear transfer. 4.Why was Dolly important? The sheep was the first mammal to be cloned using DNA taken from an adult cell. Previously, animals had only been cloned using embryo cells which already have the potentialto become a complete embryo in it s own right. The big breakthrough with Dolly was to make a clone from an ordinary, adult cell - in this case from a female go at’sudder. 5. Are clones normal, healthy animals? Dolly is, but scientist do not yet know whether this is the exceptionor the rule. Some early evidence suggest that clones may have health problems and that they may age prematurely. 6.Could a human clone be born soon? In theory, yes. The techniques used to create Dolly could be applied to humans. But the technology of reproductive cloning is still in its very early stages and there is much that scientists do not understand. It took more than 200 attempts to make D olly. The other embryos failed to implant in the surrogate mother or were miscarried. Even if a clone makes it to birth, at p resent it has a very low chance of surviving into adult life. 7.Has anyone said they will make live human clones? A number of people have, including Chicago physicist Dr Richard Seed. However, few experts believe that these people have the skills to succeed. 8. Are there any benefits from cloning? Yes. The techniques used have already demonstrated benefits. Polly, another sheep clone at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh has had a human gene inserted so that it produces a blood clotting agent needed by haemophiliacs in its milk. Cloning of huma n cells in a laboratory could offer perfectly-matched tissue for surgical or genetic repair of humans. 9.Where does the law stand on live human clones? In the UK, human cloning is already banned by law. President Bill Clinton has proposed banning research into producing human clones in the US for five years. Some measures have also been made to establish international agreements banning live human c lones. the surrogate mother or were miscarried. Even if a clone makes it to birth, at present it has a very low chance of surviving into adult life. 7.Has anyone said they will make live human clones? A number of people have, including Chicago physicist Dr Richard Seed. However, few experts believe that these people have the skills&nbs