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Scottish scientists at the Roslin Institute raised the possibility of human cloning when they created the famous “Dolly" the cloned sheep. Dolly brought up a variety of ethical and scientific implications throughout the world. It also brought us one step closer to the thought of cloning human beings. There are several human cloning facts that are important to know to fully understand this topic.
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What is Cloning?
We hear the term “cloning" all of the time, but many do not fully understand what cloning is. It is creating a copy of another human that does not involve any sexual reproduction using eggs and sperm. This is known as reproductive cloning and this is the type of cloning that was used to create Dolly.
There is another type of cloning known as therapeutic cloning. This involves implanting an embryo into a mother's womb and then allowing it to grow for the purpose of developing into stem cells. These stem cells can then be grown into human body organs, such as liver, heart and skin.
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Possible Benefits of Human Cloning
Cloning a human is a huge feat. Here are some human cloning facts that are perceived as benefits:
Therapeutic cloning has the potential to treat several degenerative diseases, specifically nervous system diseases, organ failure and spinal cord injury.
It may help in relieving issues associated with cosmetic or plastic surgery.
Those struggling with infertility may benefit from human cloning. This is because reproductive cloning does not require sex cell fusion.
Defective genes could be replaced with human cloning. This would help improve the lives of many people with debilitating diseases and injuries.
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There are certainly some benefits, but there are some drawbacks as well. Disorders in offspring is one of these. When an animal is cloned, its immune system tends to be weak, causing them to be prone to infection. This could also result in early death or tumorous growths.
The success rate is low at this time because cloning technology is still in its infant stages. Success rates with animals are low and more than 90 percent of attempts have failed.
Procedures are extensive and expensive as well.
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A clone is not actually an exact copy of its donor, contrary to popular belief. Since clones come from asexual reproduction, he or she would not have a biological mother or father. A clone could not be called a sibling or child or the donor. A clone is simply a clone of the DNA donor.
A clone would begin life as an infant, but it is formed from an adult cell.
Many countries ban human cloning. However, in Great Britain cloning can be performed, but only for therapeutic purposes.
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Human Genome Project. (2009). Cloning Fact Sheet. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from the Human Genome Project: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/cloning.shtml
American Medical Association. (2011). American Medical Association. Human Cloning. Retrieved on March 29, 2011 from the American Medical Association: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-science/genetics-molecular-medicine/related-policy-topics/stem-cell-research/human-cloning.page