Biology Without Borders

The arguable cloning process

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Since Dolly the sheep, cloning has always been a controversial topic and discussions on the use of clones for food and genetically modified animals are frequent.

Dolly, the sheep, first mammal cloned from an adult cell (Credits: BBC News UK)

Dolly, the sheep, first mammal cloned from an adult cell (Credits: BBC UK News)

Cloning is the process of creating new organisms that are exact genetic copies from a single “parent” organism. Although geneticists have said that it is basically “an extension of the process by which twins arise in nature” and consequently there’s no need to worry about its safety in terms of food or modified organisms, cloned animals can face many problems. These problems may include obesity, seizures, tumors, severe cardiovascular problems, thymus problems and joint problems.

Also, there is a good amount of groups that oppose the use of food genetically modified, including Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union and Humane Society of the United States. Besides that, it can cause unnecessary suffering to the animals involved.

On the other hand, science has shown promising results when it comes to clones created to help humans prevent diseases. Researchers in Texas A&M University have already created this type of animals in collaboration with a company called rEVO Biologics. However, since cloning is such a tough task, experimental and requires not only skill but also luck, it’s easy to say that the benefits of this artificial process are still questionable and not satisfactory.

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