What Is Cloning?Cloning is the process of creating genetically identical copies of biological matter. This may include genes, cells, tissues or entire organisms.
Types of CloningWhen we speak of cloning, we typically think of organism cloning, but there are actually three different types of cloning.
- Molecular Cloning
- Organism Cloning
- Therapeutic Cloning
Molecular cloning focuses on making identical copies of DNA molecules. This type of cloning is also called gene cloning.
Organism cloning involves making an identical copy of an entire organism. This type of cloning is also called reproductive cloning.
Therapeutic cloning involves the cloning of human embryos for the production of stem cells. The embryos are eventually destroyed in this process.
Reproductive Cloning TechniquesCloning techniques are laboratory processes used to produce offspring that are genetically identical to the donor parent.
Clones of adult animals are created by a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Cloned AnimalsScientists have been successful in cloning a number of different animals.
How do you spell breakthrough? D-O-L-L-Y
Scientists have succeeded in cloning an adult mammal. And Dolly doesn't have a daddy!
First Dolly and Now Millie
Scientists have successfully produced cloned transgenic goats.
Researchers have developed a way to create multi-generations of identical mice.
View pictures of cloned animals from Guardian Unlimited.
Cloning ProblemsWhat are the risks of cloning? One of the main concerns as it relates to human cloning is that the current processes used in animal cloning are only successful a very small percentage of the time.
Another concern is that the cloned animals that do survive tend to have various health problems and shorter life spans.
Scientist have not yet figured out why these problems occur and there is no reason to think that these same problems wouldn't happen in human cloning.
Cloning and EthicsShould humans be cloned? A major objection to cloning for research is that cloned embryos are produced and ultimately destroyed. For more information on cloning and ethics, see:
Biological Ethics: Cloning Revisited
Cloning still raises very serious ethical issues.
Information from the American Journal of Bioethics on the ethical issues of cloning.