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What Is Cloning?

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Juan Silva

Philosophy

Cloning

What is cloning? This is the question that needs to be defined in order for anyone to make a decision as to disregard cloning and its ideas, or to pursue the matter further in support of it. A Clone is an organism, or group of organisms, that come from another organism in a nonsexual way. Each cloned organism, or group of organisms, is composed with the exact genetic material as the original organism(s). (freedictionary.com)

Since the cloning of the sheep they called Dolly in 1996, cloning has been a high sought after interest in the scientific community and the surrounding related circles. Before Dolly was successfully cloned, cloning had been nothing but a mere science fiction dream that was portrayed in movies and TV. (A.M.N.H.) When cloning became something that was starting to be researched and gone after in an effort to achieve this bout, that's when it started to become a controversy and protests arose all over. One of the main protesters to cloning is religious organizations. Religious organizations make up the majority of the population that stands against anything having to do with this scientific field. The big questions in people's minds that are borderline on the subject ask simple things about the matter: Is it ethical? Can we overlook this aspect since there are so many advantages to cloning? Or do we need to draw a line somewhere and put our foot down? This is one reason why I choose to talk about this subject. I was raised on the deductive side of the issue within the religious outlook on cloning and what it stands for. As I have branched out on my own I have started to think more inductively in my cognitive reasoning when it comes to separating fact from fiction and coming to a conclusion on different topics in day to day life. In my essay I will lay out the basic ideal of cloning and go over the different types of cloning as well as the pros and cons to this scientific field so that you may better understand the basis around the subject.

When we think of cloning we usually associate the idea with what the media portrays on TV. When the media reports any news on cloning we tend to hear about only one type of cloning called reproductive cloning. There are different types of cloning that are being studied around the world that are used to produce things other than a genetic copy or twin of another organism. The three types of cloning are: (1) Recombinant DNA Technology or DNA cloning, (2) Reproductive cloning, and (3) Therapeutic cloning.

"Recombinant DNA technology," "DNA cloning," "molecular cloning," and "gene cloning" all are one in the same and represent the same process of cloning. We will refer to it as DNA cloning. DNA cloning has been around since the 1970's. You would most likely relate this type of cloning to what forensic scientists use in order to collect and compare DNA from selected host to obtain a match in solving a case. This practice has become very common in molecular biology labs today. This is also what we use to clone certain types of plants to weed out the bad unwanted affects of certain plants and how they react to nature. One prime example of the most cloned foods we eat or use today is corn. Corn has been so successful since its discovery and has only gotten better due to selective cloning of wanted and unwanted genes in the plant. Other uses include its use to identify mutations, diagnosis of hereditary diseases, and transferring genes between organisms.

Scientists who study certain genes often use bacterial plasmids to make many copies of the same gene. These plasmids replicate themselves and are distinct from the normal bacterial genome. Researchers use pieces of the chromosomes and the gene copies to produce indistinguishable material to study more. Using enzymes to restrict the DNA portion, they separate the DNA portion from the chromosomal DNA and then fuse it with plasmid. After this fusion with the cloning vector, it is now referred to as a "recombinant DNA molecule." Recombinant DNA technology has been used to study the result of naturally occurring mutations, treat various diseases in both animals and plants, and understand the cause of many diseases in humans. So far there have not been any incidences where recombinant DNA technology has done anything that would be considered unethical.

In 1996 the first mammal to be cloned, Dolly, was cloned from an adult sheep DNA sample. The method in which they use to clone animals is called reproductive cloning. Reproductive cloning is used to produce an animal with the same DNA on the nuclear level from current or prior existing animals. The process called, "somatic cell technology" or (SCNT) is done when scientists transfer genetic material from the donors nucleus cell to an egg which has had is nucleus removed. The egg is then treated with chemical and/or electric current so that the cell division process can be stimulated. Once the embryo clone has reached a stage that is suitable for transfer, it is then placed in the uterus of a female host where it will develop normally like any other egg at which time the host will birth it as usual. Though the word clone is used, the animal in which is created using SCNT, is not truly an identical clone of the animal that the DNA was extracted from.

Scientists think that if any errors or incompleteness of the process of reprogramming the genes are made, it can cause a high rate of death, disability, or deformity among animal clones. Dolly's success was significant because it let us know that a specialized adult cell's genetic material that is programmed to express the genes needed for example to produce a liver or heart in an animal, could be reprogrammed to make an entire new organism. Before they believed that if a cell was meant to develop into a heart or liver, that the cell would get rid of anything in excess not needed to produce that particular organism and was unchangeable.

Therapeutic cloning happens to be the most controversial type of cloning out there. This type of cloning specializes in embryo cloning. Embryo cloning is the process in which they clone human embryos for use in research. The goal of this process isn't to produce a human clone, but to harvest the stem cells so that further research can be done to better understand human development and help treat diseases. Stem cells are important to researchers because they can be manipulated to produce virtually any type of specialized cell in the human body. The stem cells are taken from the embryo after 5 days of division. At this stage the egg is called a blastocyst. A blastocyst if looked upon under

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