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Cloning - The Dead Species Department

By Parth Patial

Ever wished to bring your deceased pet back to life? Fret not, for there are scientists in

white coats ready to bring you solace. Cloning is the process of making copies of

oneself through several means. It can analogize with scanning a document to get a

similar photocopy of contents on the same size and sheet of paper. There are many

ways to clone an organism such as reproductive cloning, cell cloning, DNA cloning and

the list goes on. What we are going to explore today is called Somatic Cell Nuclear

Transfer (SCNT).

To begin cloning, here are the processes you need to do to produce an output:

1. Selection of a Donor Somatic Cell:

○ A somatic cell (a non-reproductive cell) is taken from the organism to be cloned. This cell can be any cell from the body, such as a skin cell.

2. Extraction of the Nucleus:

○ The nucleus, which contains the organism's DNA, is carefully extracted from the somatic cell. This nucleus holds all the genetic information needed to create the clone.

3. Preparation of an Egg Cell:

○ An egg cell is taken from a female of the same or a closely related species. This egg cell will serve as the host for the donor nucleus.

○ The nucleus of the egg cell, which contains its genetic material, is removed to create an enucleated egg cell. This step ensures that the egg will not contribute any of its genetic material to the clone.

4. Insertion of the Donor Nucleus:

○ The nucleus from the donor somatic cell is inserted into the enucleated egg cell. This can be done using a fine needle or an electric pulse to fuse the donor nucleus with the egg cell.

5. Activation of the Egg Cell:

○ The egg cell, now containing the donor nucleus, is stimulated to start dividing. This can be achieved through chemical or electrical stimulation, mimicking the natural fertilization process.

6. Development into an Embryo:

○ The activated egg begins to divide and develop into an embryo. This embryo is genetically identical to the organism from which the somatic cell was taken.

7. Implantation into a Surrogate Mother:

○ The developing embryo is implanted into the uterus of a surrogate mother, who carries the embryo to term.

○ The surrogate mother gives birth to the cloned organism, which is a genetic copy of the donor organism.

The field of cloning revolves around cloning of any and every organism that is said to be alive or even dead sometimes. The best-known examples range from clustered proteins always deemed to be the basis of life, to multicellular beasts always ready to give scientists a hard day.

Of the many experiments conducted in this field, the groundbreaking ones are Dolly the first cloned sheep and Agrican clawed frogs cloned in 1958. Dolly was created using three mothers (and not 9 like Heimdall had) where one gave the egg, one gave the DNA and one served as the surrogate, all done through the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer, that is, cloning of cells that are not gametic in nature to produce a desired result.

Let us not forget the question asked in the beginning about resurrection of your beloved pet; Luckily it is true and accomplished by scientist in British Columbia, USA where they successfully revived the deceased cat of a lady named Kris Stewart. Cats are trailer of the movie that is being directed by scientists where they aim to produce a plot that is similar Jurassic Park, trying to bring woolly mammoths back to life.

Because mammoth DNA is a 99.6 percent match to the DNA of the Asian elephant (same same but different) it is believed that through the process gene editing they can eventually create an embryo of a woolly mammoth. The eventual goal is to repopulate parts of the Arctic with the new woolly mammoth—dubbed a “functional mammoth,” this creature may effectively be an Asian elephant with a new type of hair and layer of blubber—to strengthen local plant life with the migration patterns and dietary habits of the beast that went extinct about 10,000 years ago.

Gene editing has also provided relief to many dairy producers by cloning cattle without horns as they are deemed a threat to the handlers and other fellow cattle, which earlier was done at an expensive rate and painful means.

Now as much marvelous and fascinating this all sounds in theory, when it comes to practical applications many moral and ethical concerns gets raised. Unlike other nonhuman species, humans have a higher degree of emotional intelligence and reasoning capabilities making them stand out in the food chain.

If humans were to be cloned , excluding the fact that the current technology lacks the potency of creating a survivable human, the results would be as unpredictable as you wanting to do your assignment an hour before submission or days before to impress your teacher. As the Nobel Laureate geneticist George W. Beadle asserted many years ago: “Few of us would have advocated preferential multiplication of Hitler’s genes.

Yet who can say that in a different cultural context Hitler might not have been one of the truly great leaders of men, or that Einstein might not have been a political villain.” Along with the fact that human life or any life in general is considered sacred and a use-and-throw policy would only exemplify the brutalism of the knowledge we hold.

Thus, it can be concluded that as much as glorifying and adventurous it may sound one must be cautious of all the aspects that are brought by the beauty of cloning.

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