Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Cloning. Sci-Fi making it a reality.

giphy The horror of finding more then than one person who looks exactly like you, sounds like you and is not your twin.

This person with your identical DNA is your CLONE…Da Da Da.

Emerging from literature in the 1900’s, cloning is one of those phenomena that has become a reality. Initially beginning known as one of the most horrific twists in a horror story, this aspect of sci-fi inspired many scientists to delve deep into the world of impossible and explore if there was any validity in genetically reproducing a clone of some form.

It’s rich history started the Artificial embryo twinning in a vertebrate by Hans Spemann in 1902 which involved splitting the cells from embryos as a way to ‘twin’ an organism.  This led to cloning via the nucleus which was first successfully done to a frog (tadpole) embryo in 1952 causing it to be recognised as a viable cloning technique. However it was in 1984 when the first mammal was cloned successfully by nuclear transfer. This was a sheep and the process involved the splitting of an embryo by electric shocks and then using in vitro fertilisation(IVF) to produce offspring.

Over the years, cloning was turing more into a reality then fiction, and it was the cloning of the sheep DOLLY   in 1996 that sort the possibility of human cloning due  to cell nuclear transfer.

Humans and Cloning.

Upon the successful cloning of Dolly, somatic stem cells has raised the ethics morality question regarding humans. Yes mammals can be successfully cloned but what will that do in regards to people?

This causes many to delve into the realms of science fiction as an answer to the omnipresent threats of genetically cloning another human being. The constant ‘What ifs’ leave us with the substantiating issue of always wondering if this technology will be used to better society or rather end up as being the common element of a sci-fi horror gone wrong.

Allowing us to understand that the possibility of human cloning is very real, (for obvious reasons it is very illegal), we have been able to extend our of somatic cell nuclear transfer  research that has resulted in beneficial developments for the field of medicine.

Cloning is referred to asexual reproduction and in done via IVF. theoretically if it was done on humans, it will follow this process.

  1. Cells removed from person being cloned and placed into an unfertilised egg with the DNA removed.
  2. The cells will then  integrate and become an embryo with the donor’s DNA.
  3. This then becomes the cloned embryo.
  4. If this embryo is planted into a human it will be known as reproductive  cloning. Otherwise, these cloned embryos form therapeutic cloning in which these stem cells are used in tissue formation and other medical procedures.
cloning2

image of cloning processes credited from: https://www.texasrighttolife.com/the-science-of-human-cloning/

Cloning is one of the great advancements that has resulted from the imagination of science fiction. Yes there are risks involved with these advancements, but these risks are associated with all developments in technology. Cloning is an ever evolving process but it may not have been a possibility if it was not for its importance in sci-fi literature.

 

References:

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/clones

http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cloning/clonezone/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/dolly_the_sheep.htm

http://giphy.com/gifs/archer-krieger-clone-bone-3oEduNLbufPJpJzmSY

The Science of Human Cloning

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2 comments on “Cloning. Sci-Fi making it a reality.

  1. Optimmis.prime.blog
    May 8, 2016

    Cloning is creepy and controversial, but it could lead to great advances in medical treatments!
    There are endless applications for cloned individuals and body parts. Think of those needing a range of transplants, especially with a rare blood type. Plus the rate of rejection would surely decrease. Imagine how long humans could live if we could swap parts whenever something began to fail, just like a car!!
    But where do you think we should draw the line?
    In the 2005 movie ‘The Island’, directed by Michael Bay, they have an entire island full of clones waiting to have their parts harvested or used for surrogacy for the wealthy humans in the outside world. Do you think this is outrageous or could you see us heading down this path?
    It’d be more ethical to grow an individual, but keep them unconscious, in order to harvest their parts?
    Would a clone be classified as a human and have human rights? Or would they be owned by a science company? Would they feel/think they are human, or a science experiment?
    Do you think we should pursue cloning? Or do the possible consequences for the cloned individuals out way the benefits?

    Like

  2. karlwilkins
    May 8, 2016

    Archer reference. Nice… Speaking of Archer references what about the conspiracy that clones of Adolf Hitler and other German officers in Brazil before the war ended? Do you think that it was even possible, let alone being attempted by German scientists back in the day?
    I mean if we could clone a frog in 1952 why not a human? Our DNA is that much more complex. What is there to stop them from doing it a few years earlier. they did perform human experimentation. Heck 50% of our DNA is the same as a Bananas (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/humans-share-50-dna-bananas-2482139). Although as you said there can be risks.
    Just a little more Sci-fi food for thought.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2016 by in Burwood - Friday 10am, Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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