Cloning Pets

By: Mariam Joseph and Sonia Grejtakova

What really is Cloning?

A clone is a genetically identical copy of an organism. Cloning is something that can be achieved naturally through asexual reproduction. Modern technology has also advanced to be able to clone an organism. There are three types of cloning, gene, reproductive, and therapeutic.

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.

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Current Usage?

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.

I Cloned My Dead Dog

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.


The Benefits

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.


Disadvantages

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.

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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.

What is the impact on the environment?

  1. There will be less diverse animals on the earth.

  2. If the cloned animal breeds, it could lead to more complications.

  3. 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.


What will our future be like?

Cloning animals that can withstand harsh standards can be a solution to ending hunger in certain parts of the world. This said, dependency might be destructive on a long term scale as it would be very high and extremely unstable. Also if weather conditions change to be too hot, then we would need to clone all of the animals that thrive in a colder climate to keep them alive, and vice versa.

Dolly the Sheep

Dolly the sheep is one of the best examples of a clone. Before her, other cows, frogs, and mice were cloned, but Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. She was six years old at the time she was cloned. This meant her clone was born with a body already six years old, causing the clone, Bonnie, to die quicker. Dolly in her later years got severe arthritis and other diseases which the clone ended up getting much earlier in its life.
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