Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Cloning society

Pet Cloning:

Ever had that one special pet? Be it the perfect dog or cat, maybe even something more exotic like a snake?

A clone and its genesis

Well through the efforts of cloning you could have a never ending supply of your best friend. This has already been done relatively successfully and there are even companies
that commercially clone pets
 now. This can be done when the original animal is dead or alive.

This sounds great but what are the problems with this technique? Due to the awful success rate of cloning discussed in my previous post, its cost is astronomical with most pet clones costing over $100,000. More ethical issues involved include that even successful clones quite often develop health issues meaning you might need to euthanize several animals before you get a healthy clone and even then, clones have different personalities to the original, meaning that it wouldn’t be the same pet that you loved anyway.

Medical Cloning:

The benefits that human cloning would provide wold be immense. The undeveloped embryos would provide stem cells to both further research in that field and be used in patients, without the need to use traditionally conceived embryos or failed IVF embryos.

Cloning also allows for perfectly identical organs to be grown from a person who is suffering from an organ failure. This is huge. Traditional transplants from donors require copious amounts of drugs to stop the immune system attacking the organ which it doesn’t recognize as its own. Although it’s hard to find statistics for some organs, 17% of kidney transplants fail within 3 years due to rejection. Organ cloning eradicates the risk of rejection and the need for anti-rejection drugs. Cloned organs are grown from stem cells gathered from the cloned embryo.

Study is still required to figure out how to make these harvested stem cells differentiate into the desired organ or tissue.

These enormous benefits are however, somewhat unethical due to the need to collect stem cells from embryos that will never have the chance to mature into life. So the fight between the medical industry and anti-cloning groups continues, potentially blocking any hopes of significant advances in medicine.

Graphical representation of insulin producing cells (pancreas cells) from cloned stem cells

 

 


Sources:

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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