Cloning is the method for making exact genetic copies of cells or organisms. Clones are not only created in labs, but are also found in nature. Some examples of this are identical twins, who share the same DNA, and bacteria that reproduces by making exact replicas of itself.
In 1996, one of the major breakthroughs in cloning was the creation of Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned mammal. Scottish scientists took the DNA from the body of an adult sheep and put it in the egg cell of another sheep, and then transferred the
cell to a third sheep which carried out the pregnancy. An exact genetic replica, who was named Dolly, was created. Dolly died very young in 2003, but it was unclear whether it was due to her being a clone. Other animals have been cloned since then, such as cows, goats, rabbits, cats, and pigs. Many clones don’t survive due to genetic mistakes, and the ones that do often face diseases and defects and don’t survive for very long. Creating Dolly took about 277 tries before the scientists succeeded.
As of now, cloning is used to study specific genes, generate more livestock in farming, and to “bring back” pets that have passed away, such as the cat CC in 2001. Cloning has
a wide variety of potential uses as well. Cloned embryos can provide great quantities of stem cells, which are cells that can be developed into other types of cells. Organs could be cloned to aid people with certain medical conditions, and extinct species could be brought back using the DNA in their bones or fur.
Despite many claims, there is no proof that humans have been artificially cloned. The science of cloning is still being researched and is far away from being applied on humans. Additionally, there are still questions regarding its status. Is cloning ethical? Should humans have the power to clone other creatures? Nevertheless, cloning continues to be a major topic of debate as it has the potential to benefit us, but at high risks.