Monday, April 12, 2010


Cloning is the biological process of creating populations of genetically identical individuals through asexual reproduction. Cloning has the ability to produce more individuals of a certain organism, and to aid in the process of stem research that could potentially save many humans. In recent years, the controversy over cloning has been very prominent in society. I believe that cloning should be allowed because it is beneficial to research on certain pathogens, can create new healthy organs that could be transplanted to save someone’s life, and can aid infertile couples.
Cloning is a very complex process in which the DNA of a creating organism, or cell is cloned in order to produce an identical copy of that organism with the exact same DNA. Scientists successfully cloned the infamous sheep, “Dolly” in 1996. Dolly was the first mammal that was cloned from an adult somatic cell using the process of nuclear transfer. Nuclear transfer occurs when the DNA from an oocyte (unfertilized egg), us injected into the nucleus, which contains the DNA to be cloned. If the transfer is successful, the newly constructed cell will divide normally, replicating the new DNA while remaining in a pluripotent state. The cloned cells are then placed in the uterus of a female mammal, and an identical organism is formed. Although this process seems like it would generally work, the chances of succes are very rare, and is indeed one of the reasons cloning is frowned upon. The low efficiency of this technique has caused most scientists to abandon it. However, when you think of the millions of couples in this world who want a child and cannot have one, this process is their only hope. They would be willing to take a chance on this process that rarely works, just so that their dreams of having a child could potentially come true. Most couples are so desperate to have a child that they are willing to try anything. What is the harm in trying? Although this is a very long and complicated process, the feeling that a couple gets when they know they are going to have a child definitely makes everything worth it.
Nuclear Transfer cloning is also used in Stem Cell Reasearch. Stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with desired characteristics of other organs, tissue, and muscles through a cell culture. Highly plastic adult stem cells from a variety of sources, including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, can be used in medical therapies. Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells produced by therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies. However, the controversy that has developed is that embryonic stem cell technology will not always work for reproductive cloning and can fundamentally devalue human life. However, if this research continues to be pursued by scientists, its impact could be tremendously advantageous. For example, a patient who needs a heart transplant, but who cannot find a matching donor, could use a heart created through nuclear transfer cloning. Although many are skeptical about the process, I believe with more research, cloning could potentially benefit many people.

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