The Potential of Cloning Livestock

By: Mariah Barajas & Lianna Marcinczuk

What is Cloning Livestock? How is it Done?

Cloning livestock is a hard process in which the genetic traits of an animal are copied. Cloning livestock is a process starting with the Somatic cell nuclear transfer which is when they take any cell from the body, but sperm or egg cells. These cells need to contain a nucleus which contains information to form new cells. They isolate the somatic cell from the original animal, then takes all of the nucleus out of the cell along with the removal of the DNA from the egg cell and put the nucleus into the egg cell after adding chemicals to the egg the end result is a fertilized egg. After this process, the egg turns into an embryo which is not then implanted into a surrogate mother and then the mother carries the new organism to term. The transfer process is done using electrical currents to fuse the membranes of the egg and the somatic cell

How is Cloning Livestock being used Currently?

Cloning is being used for many different things. Cloning is being used for experiments to figure out how to understand many diseases and how to make treatments for some diseases. Also cloning is being used to make adult stem cells that can match with patients that need cells. Currently researchers have been cloning livestock for other reasons. The FDA has approved of using cloned meat and milk from animals like pigs and cows. Also cloning is being used because it can improve the herds of animals.

What are the Benefits to this Type of Genetic Engineering?

Cloning, although it has many negative effects, it also has some benefits. If a farmer has an animal with all traits that help it adapt to the environment and its use on the farm they obviously would want more animals like it. Cloning allows this because it takes all the traits from the original animal and puts them into the clone to get the desired livestock. This helps the owner of the livestock have a group of animals all with the traits he needs them to have in order to help. Also with cloning livestock farmers would be able to get the desired amount of product from each of the animals because they can just keep cloning the animals that benefit them.

Are there any Disadvantages to Cloning Livestock?

Of course, with any scientific experiment, there are disadvantages like people can become too dependent on these clones. If something were to happen to these clones that the people have been relying on, then the people would become endangered because now all they know is how to depend on the livestock. Also, we have not yet successfully cloned an animal to live very long life. Each time we fail this experiment we are taking a life, which is a disadvantage. These clones can also be born with defects that can later in life cause death or many problems. So we are using a lot of money that could be going to homeless people or hungry people. Another major issue is that the clone will carry any of the diseases the original animal had been carrying. Cloning is also a disadvantage because we have been spending so much money and time to perfect the process which raises the question, is it really worth it?

How does Cloning Livestock Affect Organisms Physically?

Of course with a project like this, there are a variety of risks involved . The clone could be born with some defects. Sometimes the clone can be born with " large offspring disorder" which basically means that the organs are large. When the organs are large it could affect the clone in the future if not right away , they may not be able to breathe, the blood flow is not flowing properly, etc. There are also heart defects, lung problems, and an immune system that does not work correctly. Also, the genes of the clone are being "reprogrammed" and some animals like mice take a long time to hit the milestones of life like opening their eyes, etc. With mice also they grow obese which is not good for any organism. Cows are born with large hearts or lungs because they are not developed right. These animals also do grow obese like Dolly the sheep she had to be put on a diet because she was gaining so much weight. These are just some of the many problems that cloning is causing not only in livestock but other organisms as well.

What is its Economic Affect of Cloning Livestock?

Cloning does, in fact, have a large impact on our economy. There have been many more failures than successes in cloning animals. Therefore, a lot of money has been spent trying to successfully clone animals. The fact that we have spent so much time and money trying to clone organisms and it not being successful makes many people feel as if the amount of money and time that is spent on cloning should be used for other more important events, like world hunger. Cloning is very expensive and difficult to do for animals, there was a prediction that said that the cloning of a human would cost $250,000. Cloning is a very expensive process and scientists want to get it right so that they can start working on humans, but in doing so they are spending a lot of money on this process.

How does Cloning Livestock Affect the Environment?

Cloning livestock can lead to a whole animal population going down. If the original animal that is cloned carried some kind of disease, the clone would have the same genetics which means it shares the disease. If the disease is passed on to a new organism (the clone) eventually as cloning becomes more used the disease will keep being passed on until the whole species is gone. Therefore, making the population reduce and leaving people with nothing to eat.

How does Cloning Livestock Affect the World in a Social Aspect?

Cloning livestock affects the world in a social aspect because it is against many values and ethics. Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of genetically altering living organisms and getting involved in nature by cloning different species. Others, however, are completely for the idea and feel it will be a great addition to the livestock population. Many may think that it would be a lot easier and more efficient to clone because now farmers could give exact quantities of products by cloning their livestock.

How Will Cloning Affect Our Future?

The future of cloning would mean that we could get our milk from farmers in exact quantities. Now with cloning, the farmers can clone their best cows and make more and more of them and that would mean more milk and meat. Also, we could even clone animals and could transplant their organs into human beings that need specific organs to survive. Also, if we start to clone successfully we could clone animals that could not survive in the wild on their own. While cloning them we could give them the traits and abilities that they would need to survive on their own. The future of cloning is looking bright.

GCSE Science Revision - Cloning Dolly The Sheep