By: Mariam Joseph and Sonia Grejtakova
What really is Cloning?
How does it work?
Reproductive cloning extracts a cell with DNA from the animal being cloned. Then, the DNA is transferred to an egg that has been extracted it’s original DNA from. The egg cell is then activated and begins to divide and the embryo is put into a surrogate mother. The birthed animal would then be a genetic copy of the animal cloned.
Biotechnological cloning is used to create a larger number of genes to work out several different functions, investigate characteristics, explore mutation possibilities. Right now it is still in the developmental stage, but could eventually be used for a multitude of reasons including, saving a population from extinction. Pictured on the right is a mutation between the mice that was a result of cloning.
What's the economic effect?
On the Human Genome Project Information website, it was said that, “Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone” (2009). The process takes multiple attempts and the intricacy requires much investment of time and money that can be used towards the development of other resourceful causes.
Reproductive cloning can be used to test drug responses. This would ultimately remove variables as the animals being tested on would have the same genetic composition. Therapeutic cloning can also use stem cells matched for different treatments. Cloning can also encourage the growth of certain desired characteristics in a population.
Cloning has A LOT of risk factors. It also does not have a high success rate and is very inefficient. According to learn.genetics, “Cloning animals through somatic cell nuclear transfer is simply inefficient. The success rate ranges from 0.1 percent to 3 percent, which means that for every 1000 tries, only one to 30 clones are made. Or you can look at it as 970 to 999 failures in 1000 tries.” Animals that are cloned successfully tend to be a lot larger at birth. This defect is called LOS, or Large Offspring Syndrome.
How does it affect the Cloned Animals Physically?
These organisms that do survive the birth almost always come out with a birth defect. If they don’t develop Large Offspring Syndrome then they usually get kidney or brain malfunctions which continue to get worse throughout the life of the cloned animal/ human. Another big impact is cloning an older animal will produce an animal that will die quicker. This is because the living animal is cloned EXACTLY the way it is the cloned animal will have the same exact aged body, and organs.
The picture above shows a mouse that was born with LOS.
If scientists find a way to clone successfully with no side effects or mutations, they could eventually bring back extinct animals, like the woolly mammoth.
If there is a sudden climate these animals might have to be cloned to make sure the entire species does not die off.
What is the impact on the environment?
There will be less diverse animals on the earth.
If the cloned animal breeds, it could lead to more complications.
All the animals cloned will have the same exact genetic structure which could be a very bad thing. If a bad virus or disease comes along and the original animal cloned was not immune to it then all the clones of it will get the disease and most likely die too. This could wipe out the population faster, leading to extinction.
What's the impact on the world?
Legal Questions: Who should fund the project is a concern that also ties with the legality of whether it should be allowed or not.
Social Issues: This includes the issue of costs and whether it would be worth the investment and access and whether individuality would be psychologically abandoned.
Ethical concerns: Religious standpoints believe that “playing God” is wrong.