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Twenty years ago, scientists said that cloning was completely impossible. But now, the science of cloning
has come to realization. Imagine meeting an exact replica of somebody. They look alike, think alike, and
even have the same genetic makeup. No, this isn’t an episode of Star Trek, this is reality. This is the new
world of cloning, and thanks to a 7-month-old sheep named Dolly, a new science has been born. As with
every new science, there are those who believe in it, and those who oppose it. The new technology of
cloning should be utilized because it could bring back extinct organisms, help infertile couples to have
children, and potentially save many lives.
Cloning could bring back extinct animals. Over millions of years, thousands of different species
have gone extinct. Most were due to “natural selection”, while several others were due to human
intervention. According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, 1997, “nearly two-thirds of all the native bird
species and one-tenth of the native plants originally found on the Hawaiian Islands have gone extinct
recently. Most of these losses have been of species unique to the Hawaiian archipelago. Predators,
competitors, or diseases introduced by humans from continental areas are responsible for many of the
extinctions. Many remaining species on oceanic islands are threatened or endangered.” With cloning, many
of the animal species, and potentially several of the plant species could be brought back to life. Even
though there is currently no technique for bringing the plants back, with technology advancing so quickly,
we could have a solution quite soon. Cloning, though now limited to an!
imal subjects, potentially has significant human applications.
Cloning will help a couple who would normally be unable to have children because one of them was
infertile. In the case of an infertile father, scientists take an egg from the mother, remove its nucleus, then
take a cell from the father, remove its nucleus, and place the nucleus inside the empty egg. That cell now
acts as a reproductive cell. They then put the egg in the mothers’ womb, and wait for results.
Unfortunately, this method has a very low success rate. According to Gina Kolata of the New York Times,
February 23, 1997, in the experiments with the sheep, 277 cells were attempted. Twenty-nine of those
developed into embryos. When those cells were transferred to the female sheep, only thirteen became
pregnant. Of those thirteen, only one carried the pregnancy to full term and delivered a live lamb.
However, with the ever-progressing technology, scientists will be able to achieve higher success rates. The
power of cloning can not only be used to create life, it !
can also be used to save it.
Cloning has many medical benefits that could be utilized. It could be used to replicate organs from
animals that would be suitable for transplant into humans. This process would increase the amount of
people who could be saved. Since there would be more organs, the waiting lists for transplants would
become much shorter. According to James Glassman or the Denver Post, February 26, 1997, “Engineered
animals like pigs could be cloned and harvested for organs to transplant into sick humans”. This would be
much easier, because you don’t have to wait for an organ donor. Cloning can also recreate certain
genetically engineered animals that carry helpful substances. In the case of the sheep, the main product that
they are trying to get is AAT, a sheep’s milk now in clinical trials for use in treating cystic fibrosis.(CNN
on-line, February 23, 1997) Also, according to the Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia, 1992, “clones have
produced such medically important substances as Insu!
lin, interferon, and growth hormone”.
Due to the overwhelming positive implications, society must embrace this new technology. The
science of cloning should be used because it could resurrect extinct animals, give couples a new hope, and
medical science now has a new tool that could potentially save thousands of lives. Cloning, once the stuff
of science fiction, will with recent advances become an integral part of our society.
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