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Transcript of Cloning Presentation
A clone is an exact genetic copy of an organism. That means the DNA is exactly the same, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the clone looks the same as the original organism. The appearance of the clone is affected more by its living conditions than genetic makeup. Most people don't realize this, but you have probably seen a clone before: twins.
What is a clone?
To create a clone, scientists use the nucleus of a somatic cell.
A somatic cell is any cell other than the reproductive cells (egg and sperm). Somatic cells have two sets of chromosomes, whereas reproductive cells only have one.
The nucleus is removed from a somatic cell.
The nucleus is removed from an egg cell.
The somatic cell nucleus is inserted into the egg cell.
The cell begins to divide normally.
How Cloning Works
Because the somatic cell nucleus already has two sets of chromosomes, the new organism that grows from the egg cell is an exact genetic copy of the organism that the somatic cell was taken from.
This is called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer.
This is the process that was used in 1997 to clone a sheep named Dolly.
What could cloning be used for?
So far, scientists haven't been able to clone a human, but many animals have been cloned.
Cloning can be useful for creating several animals with the same genes, so scientists can test and compare drugs between animals with the same DNA.
If a farmer has an animal that has good agricultural traits, they can use cloning to create multiple versions of that animal.
One of the best uses for cloning is to create more animals of an endangered species. An animal of a species can be cloned to rebuild the species, however many people argue that these new animals would be too genetically similar to survive.
In 2001, scientists managed to clone an endangered baby bull gaur, a wild ox native to Asia. Unfortunately, the gaur died shortly after from an unrelated disease, but it showed that it was possible to save endangered species using cloning.
The downside to cloning animals
Cloning is very expensive and inefficient, so it is not widely used. It took 227 cloned embryos before Dolly the sheep was born.
Cloning could lower the life span of the cloned animal. Dolly only lived to be six years old, whereas most sheep live to the age of 12.
Being too genetically similar is bad for a species. Evolution relies on genetic variation to work.
Social and Ethical Issues
Cloning is currently illegal in Canada, with a maximum fine of 500,000$, or ten years in prison.
If human clones were to exist, would they be considered as real people or just a copy of another person?
Human cloning could create a black market of cloned fetuses of famous people
A clone could steal a person's identity because they would look similar and have the same DNA
Too many clones could cause overpopulation and genetic similarity in the human population.
Some religious groups like conservative christians find cloning offensive because they say humans should not be "playing the role of God".
A bull gaur.
What I think
I think there would be too many consequences to human cloning. There would be too much confusion around clone autonomy and independence. Would the clone be responsible for their own actions or would the person who was cloned be responsible? We wouldn't want a black market of clones being created, plus overpopulation and genetic similarity could be harmful to the human race. However, I do think animal cloning could be very useful for agriculture purposes and saving endangered species. I also think it just wouldn't be worth it. At the moment cloning is way too expensive and inefficient to be used frequently.
The cell is inserted into a foster mother's uterus.
University of Utah. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/cloning/whatiscloning/
National human genome institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.genome.gov/25020028
Government of Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/reprod/hc-sc/legislation/clon-eng.php
Sandner, L. (2009). Investigating science 10. Pearson Canada Inc.
From Investigating Science 10.