Cloning


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For the last few decades, cloning was a fictitious idea that lay deep within the pages of some sci-fi novels. The very idea that cloning could one day become reality was thought to be a scientific impossibility by many experts but on one exhilarating day, what was thought to be "purely fiction" became reality.

That fine day was February 22, 1997. A team from the Roslin Institute which was lead by Dr. Ian Wilmut changed the face of history forever by revealing what looked like an average sheep.

That sheep was what was going to be one of the most famous if not the most famous sheep in modern day.

Dolly was this seven month old Trojan lamb's name and Dolly was the first ever clone of a mammal. She was an exact biological carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit of her mother. In essence, Dolly was her mother's biological twin.

What surprised most thought, was not just the fact that Dolly was a clone but was that the trick to Wilmut and his team's success was a trick that was so ingenious yet so simple that any skilled laboratory technician could master it.
Therein, lied a pathway towards a new future.

This news shocked the world for Dolly was the key to many new and prosperous possibilities.

But Dolly was not the first clone ever. Cloning of a more limited sort had been done before her. Creatures such as mice, frogs and salamanders had been cloned from as early as the 1950's. Then, a different procedure was used.

This procedure included the destruction of the nucleus inside the egg cell. Then a new "donor" cell would be brought and injected into the egg cell as a replacement.
The egg would then grow into an progeny of the same genetic make-up as the donor.

Later on in the 1970's a new technique was developed. This technique included transferring the genes from one organism to another by combining the DNA from a plant or animal cell with the DNA in bacteria. When the bacteria divided the cells were now the clones of both plant/animal DNA as well as the DNA it had originally.

This cloning technique allowed for the growth of many endocrine system treatments such as hormone, insulin and interferon.

In 1993, researchers in the US began and successfully cloned a human embryo in order to develop new ways to treat human infertility.

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This was accomplished using the DNA technique (the bacteria method) but stirred up enormous vehement outcries for the public considered this "pushing technology just too far".

Soon after in the mid 1990's, a team from the Roslin Institute (the creators of Dolly) discovered a new and more efficient method of cloning.
A method that was so simple, any in-veto lab could of done it fifty years ago; A method that was of great simplicity but it also allowed the lab technician to pick their desired healthy, mature sheep instead of the usual random lamb.
This resulted in a better sheep. The scientists did not have to take there chances with nature now.

This method of cloning was one of great similarity to the procedure created in the 50's.
An egg cell was taken from the udder of the Finn Dorset ewe and placed in low concentrate to allow the cell to stop dividing. Then the nucleus of a Blackface ewe along with its DNA was sucked out leaving an empty cell with all the necessary cellular machinery to successfully produce a embryo. Using the two cells, (the cell from the Finn Dorset and the cell from the Blackface) an electric pulse was created by placing them next to one another. Then another electric pulse was created which mimicked that of the one before it. This summoned the cells to begin divide. As the cells grew in number, a embryo slowly began to be made and soon it was ready to be injected back into the body of another sheep.

Using this same or a similar procedure, a human clone may one day be born.

A group of American scientists lead by Richard Seed have decided to give it a try and on January 6, 1998 they announced that the start of human cloning would be soon under way. Seed claimed that his purposes were solely for infertile couples (couples who are unable to produce a baby) and not meant for misuse.

Seed's soon-to-be experiment has been creating lots of controversy between the ethics of human cloning. This issue is rapidly becoming a larger and larger issue more and more every day. Major world leaders (a.k.a. American President Bill Clinton) are even getting involved in the dispute by proposing a five year ban on human cloning which was signed by thirteen different countries.
The public is even in favor of this ban according to a recent TIME poll where 64.3% of the 2358 people asked agreed that laws should be adapted to prohibit human clones.

Who knows what may be in our future if Seed's experiment is successful.
Could we one day clone Adolph Hitler? Could immortality be achieved? Could a single drop of your blood result in an army of clones?
These questions are all possibilities which leaves you lots of room to consider the future of cloning. Maybe we should stop and allow mother nature to take her course; Maybe we should go on in hopes of new discoveries.
The possibilities seem endless.

I guess we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for us but until then, we shall lift out heads high and hope of a bright future.


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