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Gene Cloning in Animal Cells
Animal cloning, reproduction, embryo, fetus, endangered species, genetic copies, DNA, cells, tissues, clone.
Animal cloning is an asexual method of reproduction. It can be defined as a form of animal reproduction that involves the replacement of the egg nucleus with a cell from the body part of the donor (somatic cell). Once the replacement is complete, the reconstructed embryo is inserted into a surrogate mother for the fetus to develop.
The advanced technique of biotechnology allows ranchers to increase the reproduction of productive livestock. With this, they can replicate the most favorable existing traits of the livestock, like high milk yield and better health. The first cloned animal was a sheep called Dolly, born in 1997 at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since then, other animals to be cloned include cattle, deer, pigs, goats, cats, and dogs.
Cloning produces healthy livestock that provides healthy and safe dairy products. Cloning is also helpful in protecting endangered species. Cloning is a well-known scientific term. Cloning is a scientific technique that is used for making exact genetic copies of different living things. This includes copies of the DNA, cells, tissues, or the entire animal. The copied material, which has the same genetic makeup as the original, is referred to as a clone.
Types of Cloning
The different types of cloning include natural and artificial cloning.
Many prokaryotic organisms like bacteria can produce identical offspring through asexual reproduction. Binary fission is a type of asexual reproduction where the DNA of the bacteria replicates and the cell divides into two identical cells. Budding, fragmentation, and parthenogenesis are some examples of natural cloning processes. Natural cloning is also observed in humans and mammals. This happens when the fertilized egg splits into two embryos that carry the same DNA. Identical twins have the same genetic construction but are different from the parent.
Artificial Cloning: Artificial cloning involves a complex technique of collecting genes from one organism called the foreign DNA and inserting it into a vector. The different types of artificial cloning include:
- Gene cloning, which creates copies of genes or segments of DNA.
- Reproductive cloning, which creates copies of whole animals.
- Therapeutic cloning, which creates embryonic stem cells. Researchers hope to use these cells to grow healthy tissue to replace injured or diseased tissues in the human body. The different artificial cloning methods have varied uses in different fields. These methods use DNA, genes, or a cell to produce more DNA, stem cells, or a complete animal.
Animal Cloning Process
The animal cloning process can occur via two separate methods: artificial twinning or somatic cell nuclear transfer. The process of artificial twinning is done in many labs to induce the birth of identical animal twins.
The embryo to be transferred into the mother's womb is split into two, and each developing embryo is allowed to develop to form its own organisms. The resulting offspring would then form identical twins. Twinning can be used to increase livestock and produce more offspring than normal.
The other process, somatic cell nuclear transfer, is more intricate and involves several steps that include:
The host egg is enucleated. Its DNA is removed, and its genetic information is lost
The nucleus of the animal to be cloned is removed.
The nucleus of the animal to be cloned is inserted into the enucleated host egg to produce a zygote.
The zygote is stimulated to divide via electric current.
The zygote is then transplanted into the surrogate mother's uterus.
The benefits of cloning animals can be seen in a variety of fields, such as medicine and agriculture. These benefits include:
Help balance ecosystems
With many species now considered endangered, animal cloning may eradicate that threat.
Increase livestock output
This method could be used on farms to increase livestock. With the world population skyrocketing, it may be useful to increase output to avoid an increase in the cost of meat. In addition, animals with desired traits may be cloned to increase quality.
Animal cloning can be used to study the physiology of certain diseases by cloning certain organs instead of entire animals. It can also be used to develop human drugs and medications, such as antithrombin. Moreover, animal cloning can also be used to produce and culture stem cells that can be used for the treatment of many human diseases.
Animal cloning can also be used to clone a lost pet.
Disadvantages of cloning are also a topic of discussion. Ethical and scientific concerns can be found when conducting animal cloning, such as:
- The science of cloning is unsuccessful most of the time.
- Cloning is the least reliable form of reproduction.
- Diversity loss eventually changes the species anyway.
- There is the potential of a slippery slope.
- It isn’t cheap.
Research into animal cloning has been ongoing for several years in almost 40 countries including the USA, China, Japan, and Argentina. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA expressed a favorable opinion on January 15th, 2008, regarding the use of cloned animals for food production. New Zealand and Australia have also indicated that they have no safety concerns with food from cloned animals or their offspring.
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