Micro Life Zone
Asked by tanisha to DJ, Kyler, Mia, Mick, Peter on 27 Aug 2013.
Depends what is being cloned I guess. Plants are often grown from clones, including fruits and vegetables. Cloning humans is another story. Some animals are also cloned for breeding and I was surprised to read that FDA in the US conducted a study on cloned livestock. They determined that the meat, milk etc (including that of any offspring) doesn’t pose a risk to human health. It’s worth noting that products from cloned animals are not usually meant to enter the food chain.
@tanisha: Hmmm, that’s a big question. We’ve learnt so much about cloning since Dolly the sheep was first cloned successfully in 1996.
Cloning reproduces the original thing genetically at the very beginning (so for plants, that’s not so much of an issue, except perhaps in terms of resistance to disease, because if everything has the same level of resistance, it might be more likely to get wiped out by a disease) but in animals, our ‘end result’ is also the effect of some random genetic development things (that cloning can’t control – for example, spotty cows that are cloned have their spots in different places even though they are all clones because the pigmentation in their skin and hair is random) environment and social experiences.
So even though the genetic material at the beginning is the same, if I cloned one of my pet dogs, they most likely wouldn’t grow up to be exactly the ‘same’ as my current dog, because they would have different living experiences growing up.
I think the science behind cloning is worth knowing how to do. However, what we do with that knowledge requires wisdom beyond just having factual knowledge. Is it OK to clone a sheep? Most people would say, “sure, why not?” Well, what if you wanted to eat the meat from the sheep? Does that pose any danger because of the subtle genetic changes introduced in the cloning process? I don’t think so, but that’s a worthwhile question to ask. What about humans? Are they special? Should they be treated differently? And even if we decide that it’s OK to clone them, what about all the embryos from all the cloning experiments that don’t work? These are all questions about cloning that should be decided by more than just one person, I think.
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2021