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Growth And Development Plant And Animal Cloning Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 2963 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another. This means that every single bit of DNA is the same between the two organisms. Cloning is at present illegal because of the devastating impacts it may have on humanity, cloning became popular when scientist Ian Wilmut first cloned Dolly by a process termed somatic cell nuclear transfer. Dolly was the only success out of 277 experiments and Cumulina, the first cloned mouse after Dolly, was among 15 live born mice from 942 tries; so this proves that cloning is yet not quite understandable for we have little knowledge about it. But even so humans won’t stop until it is a safe success. Cloning is bound to bring great benefits to human kind but it will also bring fort great chaos from ethical views and religion. The idea that a clone is an exact duplicate of another individual is not reliable, and so if the intent of cloning is to create such a copy, it simply will not work. To be clear, the tips of chromosomes, called telomeres, shorten with each cell division. A clone’s telomeres are as short as those from the donor nucleus, which means that they are “older” even at the start of the clone’s existence. DNA in the donor nucleus has also had time to mutate, that is to say, it has had time to undergo modification from its original sequence, thus distinguishing it genetically from other cells of the donor. A mutation that would have a negligible or delayed effect in one cell of a many-celled organism, such as a cancer-causing mutation, might be devastating if an entire organism develops under the direction of that nucleus. Finally, the clone’s mitochondria, the cell organelles that house the reactions of metabolism and contain some genes, are those of the recipient cell, not the donor, because they reside in the cytoplasm of the egg. Mitochondrial genes, therefore, are different in the clone than they are in the nucleus donor. The consequences of nuclear and mitochondrial genes from different individuals present in the same cell are not known, but there may be incompatibilities. Perhaps the most compelling reason why a clone is not really a duplicate is that the environment affects gene expression. Cloned calves have different colour patterns, because when the animals were embryos, the cells that were destined to produce pigment moved in different ways in each calf. For humans, consider identical twins. Nutrition, stress, exposure to infectious diseases, and other environmental factors greatly influence our characteristics. For these reasons, cloning a deceased child, the application that most would-be cloners give for pursuing the technology, would likely lead to disappointment.

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Actual Process

In its most basic procedure, cloning encompasses three footsteps. In the first step, scientists obtain cells from an individual whose characteristics they want to copy for example they want to copy an ordinary dog’s colour, consider that I have a dog pot-licker but he has his two front legs white with black spots, like a dalmata. It’s this characteristic that they want to copy so they would take his cells for the process. They then place these cells, which are called donor cells, into a liquid culture. This culture contains nutrients that stop the cells from dividing. In the second footstep, an unfertilized egg is taken from a female. This unfertilized eggs nucleus is then removed, leaving an empty egg cell. The donor cell is then taken form the culture and is placed into the empty egg. This progression creates an embryo that is an exact copy of the donor, which would be the spotted leg dog and not the mother. In the final step, the embryo is put into the uterus of a female of the same species and the offspring arrives into the world by means of the natural birth process.


From a long time ago, people have been taking roots or stems of plants in order to make genetically identical copies. Usually, this is done by choosing the best plant, of course (for example, the most decorative or unusual), cutting a root or branch from it, and placing that cutting in water or soil. The cells will then divide and double in size every six weeks until the cutting develops roots. At this point, it is ready to be planted. It will then grow into an exact copy of the parent plant. This is normally done with flowers and vegetables and fruits.


Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, was produced in Scotland at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, this happened in July 1997. Ian Wilmut and colleagues informed the birth of a lamb resulting from the transfer of a nucleus obtained from an adult ewe udder cell into an enucleated oocyte that was then implanted into a surrogate mother. Dolly was cloned through a process called nuclear transfer. The process that produced Dolly differs from ordinary reproduction in two major ways. First, body (or somatic) cells from an adult ewe’s udder (this is the donor) were placed in a culture dish and it was allowed to grow. The nutrients were then removed from the culture, which stopped the cells’ growth. One of these nongrowing cells was then fused by electric jolts with another ewe’s oocyte from which the nucleus had been previously removed. This procedure is known as ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer’. Within a day the fused cells began to divide in the culture dish. After several divisions, the early embryo was transferred to the uterus of a surrogate mother and allowed to develop. Second, unlike the sperm and the egg, each of which contributes half the number of chromosomes at fertilization, each body cell contains twice the number of chromosomes in each germ cell. So fusion of a sperm and an egg forms an individual whose full genetic composition is unique to that individual. On the other hand, the embryo cloned from somatic cell nuclear transfer begins development with the diploid (double) number of chromosomes, all derived from one somatic cell (adult udder) of a single individual. This embryo has the same nuclear genetic composition as the donor of the somatic cell. In the end, three sheep contributed to the production of a single lamb clone: a Finn Dorset sheep donated her udder cells for culture; a Scottish Blackface sheep donated the enucleated oocyte (with its nucleus removed, thus losing its own genetic identity in the process); and a Scottish Blackface sheep became the surrogate mother, carrying the embryo to birth.

There are 4 type of cloning: recombinant DNA technology or DNA cloning, reproductive cloning, therapeutic cloning and replacement cloning.

Therapeutic cloning, also called “embryo cloning,” is the production of human embryos for use in research. The goal of this process is not to create cloned human beings, but rather to harvest stem cells to be used to study human development and to treat disease.

Reproductive cloning is a technology used to generate an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another currently or previously existing animal.

The terms “recombinant DNA technology,” “DNA cloning,” “molecular cloning,” and “gene cloning” all refer to the same process: the transfer of a DNA fragment of interest from one organism to a self-replicating genetic element such as a bacterial plasmid. The DNA of interest can then be propagated in a foreign host cell.

Replacement cloning, at present exists only in theory.

Concepts & Significance

Cloning is seen as the way to keep our species survival going, a way to better human life, a way to evolve, a way to relief, it is seen as the way out of many of our troubles. But cloning is also seen as the interference of nature; the meaning of cloning for people that see it as nature’s violation is great chaos and corruption of mankind by creating deformed beings which would then be living with the deformities. The concept of rejecting the idea of cloning is often based on emotions which stop humans from improving. Other concepts of cloning are that these clones would be treated as chemical ingredients this is considering the harvesting of organs for transplants and of course killing the clones. Clones might also be regarded as subjects rather than lives to their originals. Genetic cloning is very important. I don’t understand why people would not agree with it, maybe because they don’t know what it is. Genetic cloning is not cloning whole humans or any other animals, yet it most certainly could. Genetic cloning allows the experimentation and study of genetic disorders. By performing these experiments we learn about the different processes that occur within the cell thus the more we learn about these processes the more we can do to prevent disorders that occur due to malfunctions in these processes. Some people think that cloning is a “what the hell idea” I don’t believe so.

Benefits to Humanity

Cloning could be used to produce vital organs for transplant. The only way to do this, however, would be to clone the entire individual, including its organs. This practice would raise ethical questions and would require a long time to grow the organism. It would take a long time for a donor’s organs to be mature enough to be removed from the donor and used for transplant. In addition, scientists are unsure whether transplanted organs from cloning would be accepted or rejected by the recipient individual. Another benefit to humanity would be the salvation of endangered species. At that present time, the success was not likely to happen because it took 277 tries to clone Dolly the sheep. But if the success rate of cloning increases, it could be a way to increase the population of endangered species or animals that are difficult to breed for example the panda. Extinct species could also be revived using the cloning method although this would be more difficult. Cloning extinct animals has two problems. First, donor cells must be taken from living organisms; unless an extinct animal is found frozen (the woolly mammoth recently discovered in the Arctic), it would be impossible to find living cells. Because the fossil bones of dinosaurs contain no living cells, a dinosaur cannot be cloned. Second, current cloning technology requires a surrogate mother and an egg cell from a living female of the same species, which is something that we don’t have yet. Females normally cannot give birth to an animal from a different species. It is unlikely, for instance, that a female elephant could donate an egg cell and give birth to a woolly mammoth. Other benefits for us would be the obtaining of desired traits through cloning than through conventional breeding. For example, cloning could benefit crop engineering by creating foods that are more nutritious, disease free, and plentiful. Cloning could also help in the prevention and cure of diseases. In example, the same laboratory where Dolly was created is now working to create eggs that contain anticancer proteins to prevent various forms of cancer (such as fast growing forms of skin cancer). Dolly herself was cloned to produce a sheep whose milk had more proteins that are believed to help treat diseases such as emphysema, haemophilia, and cystic fibrosis. An interesting benefit is that aged cell nuclei can be rejuvenated. Studies using cell culture have shown that body cells grow and divide normally in culture for a while, but eventually stop dividing, become senescent, and die. An exception was seen in aged frog red blood cell nuclei (human red blood cells lack nuclei). After their transfer into enucleated oocytes, frog red blood cell nuclei were rejuvenated. They carried out the formation of tadpoles that survived almost a third of the way to metamorphosis. The oocyte cytoplasm contains an abundance of chemicals that promote DNA synthesis and cell division after normal fertilization. It’s believed that these substances also rejuvenate aged cell nuclei and turn non-cycling frog red blood cells into active ones. If they could isolate these substances, they might be able to alleviate or reverse senescence. Cloning will allow us to improve human life. It will allow more individuals to live more rewarding lives. And, it will actually have the potential to increase the quality of life of those who do not rank as high on the principal valued dimensions as the clones themselves. In addition, it will give us earlier knowledge of medical conditions of clones, so that these conditions can be addressed before they become life threatening. Longevity will also be increased by other means (chiefly gene therapy and anti-aging drugs). Thus, if the clones of a certain person have a normal life expectancy of 90 years, by the time they reach this life expectancy, in all probability, medical technology will have advanced to the point where another 30 or more years can be added to this. Hence, a clone’s foreknowledge that their proto died at a certain age from natural causes will not be an automatic death sentence for them. Clones can expect to add years to their lives through environmental influences and medical advances, so the age of their natural death will remain uncertain. There are many additional benefits from cloning to be considered. Cloning has great implications for the human species to the extent that candidates can be selected which are largely free from genetic defects. Correspondingly, the non-cloned offspring of clones will be more likely to be free from genetic defects themselves, thereby improving the quality of the human gene pool. The fears associated with establishing a qualitative distance between clones and the rest of humanity have already been discussed at some length. But summarily, the tendency of cloning will be to push the entire species in the direction of greater functionality and survivability. Inevitably, clones will marry and propagate with non-clones that are not their equals. In effect, some clones will marry to become weaker. Correspondingly, some non-clones will marry to become stronger, resulting in a genetic improvement and uplifting of the entire human race. In short, cloning will allow us to accelerate our evolution beyond what would normally occur merely by means of the choices people make in the mate selection process. Pet lovers would also have their pets for as long as they want by cloning and unfertile couples would have babies too.

Ethical Issues

The arrival of Dolly sparked widespread rumours about a human child being created using somatic cell nuclear transfer. Much of the superficial fear that met this announcement centred on the misunderstanding that a child or many children could be produced who would be identical to an existing person. This fear was based on the idea of “genetic determinism” genes alone determine all aspects of an individual and reflects the belief that a person’s genes bear a simple relationship to the physical and psychological traits that make him or her. Genes play an essential role in the formation of physical and behavioural characteristics; although each individual is, in fact, the result of an interaction between his or her genes and the environment within which he or she develops. Many of the concerns about cloning have focused on issues related to the idea of “playing God,” this is considered an interference with the natural order of life. Also there are those who believe that the embryo has the moral status of a person from the moment of conception, research or any other activity that would destroy it is wrong. Cloning ethics is structured in seven ways

The potential impact of cloning on individuals; its potential to create a genetic underclass; Clones would be considered better than others or even us humans.

The potential impact of cloning on the social structure and the division of labor. Some clones would be used for labour which would be wrong.

The implications of cloning for the composition of the gene pool and the future of human race

Who decides who is eligible to be cloned?

How will the decision to select and approve candidates for cloning be made, and what criteria will be used?

What will be the quality of life of the clones?

What are the implications of cloning for the survivability of the species; how will it enhance survivability?


Cloning has opened many doors and has lit many roads that could lead to significant medical advancements but, as with all new technologies, it will be accompanied by ethical and social standoffs. Today’s successes will shape the road to improving efficiencies and help add to the basic understanding of our cells. Even Dolly’s creator, Ian Wilmut, is focusing less on sheep and more on understanding the mechanism of reprogramming our genetic material. In conclusion, cloning is unsafe at this time because the complete list of defects cannot be accounted for. The sacrifice of countless children to death and physical abnormalities, as well as mental illness, cannot become real out for the sake of science. Experts say that cloning humans in the near future is not safe because: “It seems that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and the authors (other scientists) have allowed themselves to over-interpret their findings,” said Ian Wilmut. This is a science that cannot be rushed into, because the consequence is paid with a lifetime of grief for a defective child.


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