Cloning: Dolly and beyond A. Student University of Pennsylvania April 10, 2000 What was Dolly?
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In 1997 Dolly the sheep became the first vertebrate cloned from the cell of an adult animal. Not only was this a remarkable scientific breakthrough but it immediately gained interest and concern from around the world on the future of cloning technology as it would effect humans.
Reproductive cloning- The entire animal is produced from a single cell by asexual reproduction. This would allow for the creation of a human being who is genetically identical to another.
Therapeutic cloning- Broader use of the term “cloning.” Does not create a new genetically identical individual. Research includes therapy for human mitochondria disease and others that could replace damaged or diseased tissues without the risk of rejecting another’s tissue. Could create new skin tissue for burn patients.
Embryo splitting- Artificially splitting a single embryo at a very early stage of development. In the natural process this would create twins. However, because this is done at an early stage and there are usually less than eight cells you can only make a few clones. Both the nuclear genes and mitochondria genes would be identical.
Nuclear replacement- Genetic material (nucleus from embryonic, fetal, or adult cell) is removed and placed into an unfertilized egg or embryo, whose nucleus has been removed. In this case the nuclear genes remain the same but the mitochondria DNA would be different. This has the potential to create the clone of an adult organism as well as many clones at once.
Dolly was cloned using the nuclear replacement method. Again the nucleus with chromosome sets is fused with an unfertilized egg whose nucleus has been removed.
Motivating factor was that it could help to improve certain qualities in livestock.
Dolly was not the first sheep to be created from nuclear replacement. Two genetically identical sheep, Megan and Morag were born in 1996 using the technique. The difference was that Dolly was derived from an adult sheep, and Megan and Morag were from a sheep embryo.
1997 House bill prohibited use of federal money for experimentation with cell transfer technology to produce an embryo that is a human clone. Federal rules prohibit federal funding for embryo research. The bill allowed for continuation of federal research on plant and animal cloning. It did not affect research at biotech companies or academic institutions, which don't receive federal funding.