Cloning

This essay has a total of 2277 words and 10 pages.

Cloning


Research Paper on Cloning


We have seen comic material in the movies and on television. The entertainment industry
usually shows it in a humorous situation such as Danny Devito and Arnold Schwannager as
genetically engineered twins while Michael Keaton was duplicated to make his life easier.
Cloning is only achieved after intensive research and experimentation where as in the
movies; it is made out to be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Even though animal and human cloning has
only been announced recently to the public, it has been around for the many decades, and
is very beneficial to our future generations.

In 1938, a German scientist by the name of Hans Spemann came to the conclusion that
organisms can, in fact, be reproduced. His belief was that by transplanting the central
element of one animal's cell into the egg of another animal, the animal could be
reproduced, or "cloned". Dr. Spemann believed that the central element or "nucleus" of a
cell contained the genetic blueprint for the structure of the organism. He was awarded the
Nobel Prize in 1935 for his discovery of what he called the "organizer effect" ("Bio of
Hans"). After Spemenn's discovery, there were two other tries to replicate what he did.
The first was in 1952, when American scientists tried by infusing the nucleus of a frog's
embryo into a frog egg, but this attempt resulted in failure. In 1970, a British scientist
repeated the same experiment. This attempt resulted in the development of some specimens,
which died after reaching the tadpole stage. Over time, there have been many claims to
cloning, but have all turned up as either frauds or they produced organisms that have died
after a few days (Plutonium).

There have been cases of cloning of several types of animals beginning in 1984. Embryonic
animal cells were what clones were produced from in the past. Scientists have developed a
new process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is performed using nature cells.
This is the science that was used to produce Dolly in 1997(Roslin 1).

It has been said that after 277 failures, Dolly was finally produced. The team of
scientists who made Dolly described that they removed cells from under the arm of an adult
sheep, starved those cells from nutrients so they would enter a dormant state and then
used an electrical charge to force the cell's pores to open. 277 different eggs and cells
were fused together. Of those 277 fused eggs, only 29 survived and were implanted into 13
ewes. These ewes were to act as the surrogate mothers. Of those 29, only one sheep embryo
survived. This embryo was born on July of 1996 and was named Dolly (Roslin 1). This famous
sheep was introduced to the public in February of 1997 and was named after the country
music singer Dolly Parton.

Not only have sheep been cloned, but also by using advanced genetic techniques,
bioengineers have produced calves and intend to produce herds of cows that will produce
drugs in their milk, these cattle will basically be living drug factories. This is called
cattle pharming. Cows carrying human genes have also been produced. The human cells cause
these cows to produce milk that contains human proteins (Holy Cow 43). Hemophiliacs in
need of certain blood-clotting factors will receive them by simply drinking a glass of
this milk. Another herd will produce milk-containing proteins for infants that can not
nurse. Even more research is being done for cattle to produce milk that will be beneficial
for emphysema and fibrosis suffers. A cattle breeder wishing to clone the best breeding
stock can have a cloned herd, fatten them, and them have them slaughtered for beef. This
process is called selective breeding.

Plants as well as animals can be cloned. The main difference in these two procedures is
that for the past 2000 years, we have been forcing the plants to reproduce by methods of
grafting and stem cutting. The main goal is to clone plants that will be superior to those
plants that occur naturally. Scientists hope that these new, genetically altered plants
will be more resistant to insects, viruses and bacteria with improved nutritional
qualities and longer lives. This would not only benefit man, but a lot of plants are also
used in the production of medicine (Clone 2: 832).

Animal cloning would also allow an effective study of human genetic diseases such as
systic fibrosis and Down's Syndrome. It can even put an end to the shortage of human
transplant organs by the use of trangenetic animals. These animals have been genetically
altered to that their organs would be partially made up of human material (Reibstein and
Reals 58). This method would once again bring the rights of animals into concern. A lot of
controversy could arise in raising animals solely to produce drugs, experiment on or take
organs from. Scientists feel that it may be possible to "reprogram" skin or blood cells so
that they will grow into "spare parts" of tissues and organs rather than whole organisms
but this would be many years into the making.

Many of these methods will not be practical in the near future but there are other cloning
methods that can help those that are already alive. It can help in developing new
treatments for disease, cure disease, and save lives. One disease that cloning would
hopefully help would be Parkinson's Disease, which is a disease of the nervous system.
Scientists could manipulate cells to grow into healthy brain cells (Cloning 159).

Still another use is growing organs and/or tissues for humans. Cells can be manipulated to
revert to their embryonic stage and then these cells will have the potential to grow into
other issues, cells, etc. This is done through chemical signals called fibroblast growth
factors. These signals "tell" the cells what to do. These same chemical signals are also
used on embryos. The fibroblast growth factors tell the cells what to become. Hans Spemann
found the organizer effect, which is how the embryonic cells are aligned. The organizer
effect shows that "the anterior parts of it (the cell) tend to produce the parts of the
head and the posterior parts of it parts of the tail (bottom)." ("Biography of Hans
Speeman" http://www.nobel.se/laureates/medicine-1935-1-bio.html)

By producing organs/tissues genetically identical to that a patient, there would be less
risk of rejection and the patient would be spared from the need to take heavy medication
that suppresses the immune system. Transplant patients would benefit the most from this
because there are not anywhere near enough organ donors for those who need the organs. On
top of that, the patients then have to wait and see if the organ is the right size and if
the body will reject the organ. Human bodies attack what is not genetically alike to the
specific body; thus, transplant organs are rejected at times even with the medication that
tries to suppress this action. Another technique of transfer cloning obtains healthy adult
cells and reprograms them "so that they are embryonic and have the potential to grow into
any type of tissue." ("Potential uses" 980) This method could be used to produce stem
cells, which are undifferentiated or unspecialized, capable of being any tissue/organ.
Stem cells could be used to replace the area of damaged nerve tissue, which does not
regenerate. This process can also be used to grow organs for those who need them or even
bone marrow. According to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, this is a "far more
desirable" technique of cloning because embryos are not used, however, they also feel that
this is a highly speculative technique. (National V II A9)

Gene cloning can be used to produce vaccines and hormones, it already has led to the
inexpensive production of insulin for diabetes and of growth hormones for children who do
not produce enough hormones for normal growth. Monoclonal antibodies used the immune
system to fight off disease could be injected into the blood system where it would seek
out and attack a tracer element to the cloned antibody that would be able to locate hidden
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