The question to clone or not to clone is currently center stage of scientific debate. Since the birth of Dolly, the sheep, in 1997 the controversial question of cloning has been paramount throughout the entire globe. The question is no longer whether it can be done, but whether is should be done and to what extent. We have already cloned goats, mice, monkeys, cattle, and pigs (Cloning fact sheet). Scientists are now trying to get approval to clone humans or at least parts of them (Eccleston, CNN). All of these clonings have led to much criticism and controversy, but the latest attempt at cloning is that of endangered and possibly already extinct species in hopes of preserving them. This short paper will give a brief description of cloning and the pros and cons of preserving endangered and extinct species via means of cloning.
There are different types of cloning. One type led by researchers at the Human Genome Project entails the copying of genes and parts of chromosomes in order to get enough identical genetic material to do further research, which they believe could help prevent human diseases in the future (Cloning fact sheet). Another type of cloning is called Blastomere separation, also known as twinning. In this case they split an egg (embryo), soon after it has been fertilized which results in two or more embryos, twins, containing the same exact DNA from both parents (Cloning fact sheet). However, Dolly, was cloned from only one parent. To do this, scientists must take an egg, empty out its genetic material, and replace it with genetic material from another animal by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer (Cloning fact sheet). This means that on...
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Eccleston, J., Baum, M.D. 2000. Cloning complications: British plan on human embryos stirs an international debate. http://www.cnn.com/2000/fyi/news/08/29/human.cloning/index.tr.html.
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Lanza, R.P., Dresser, B.L., Damiani, P. 2000. Cloning Noah's Ark: biotechnology might offer the best way to keep some endangered species from disappearing from the planet. Scientific American. Vol. 283: 84-89.
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R., Mittermeier, C.G., Da Fonseca, G.A.B., Kent, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature. Vol. 403: 853-858.
Reaves, J. 2000. Bring back the DoDo! Brave new strides in animal cloning. Time daily. http://www.time.com/time/daily/0,2960,57207,00.html. 2 pages. Accessed 10/26/2000.
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