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Cloning

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The Issue of Cloning & Bioengineering

There have been many breakthroughs in bioengineering lately. In 1998, scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, cloned the first ever mammal, a sheep named Dolly. Scientists can now isolate a gene, and put it into an animal of a completely different species. This opens up new windows in many of the world's industries, such as medicine and agriculture. In the paragraphs ahead, the processes, possible applications, and the consequences of the biotechnology industry will be covered.

First off, I'll get into cloning. The definition of a clone is an organism that is derived from another organism by an asexual reproductive process. The result is an exact copy, basically a genetic twin, of the organism being cloned. Cloning is still very faulty. The success rate of the process is extremely low. I've broken down the whole process to better explain it:

* Take an unfertilized egg from a female, and take the nucleus out.

* The cell from the specimen to be cloned is put in a petri dish and cultured for 7 days.

* Starve the cultured cells to put them into a dormant state.

* The egg and the cell are put next to each other in a dish.

* Then an electric current is passed through them to fuse them together.

* The reconstructed embryo is cultured and grown for 7 days.

* The embryo is put into the female that is at the same stage of the estrous cycle. She then becomes pregnant.

There is a lot more to making a clone than what I described, but this

brief summary of the process gives a basic idea as to what happens.

Many uses and benefits have been speculated as a result of these new innovations. For example, organs for transplants are in great shortages. In the past, animal-to-human organ transplants have been a big failure. The average amount of time a person would live after receiving an animal organ was about 2 weeks to a month, simply because the body would reject them. It is now possible to alter animals in such a way that the tissues of the organs will register as human organs when they are put into the body. Research is still in the early stages, but it is a definite possibility in the future.

Human therapeutic proteins can also be produced through bioengineering. These proteins are used to treat a variety of human diseases, but they are hard to produce and run the risk of contamination and disease through traditional methods. However, these proteins can be produced at a relatively low cost through the milk of genetically altered goats and cattle.

The many endangered species of the world can be preserved through the use of cloning. It has been speculated that cloning endangered species would lead to inbreeding, but that would be likely to happen anyway, since there would be few of the animal left to begin with. The animals' cells could also be cryogenically frozen beforehand, if the animal actually goes extinct.

People with burn or skin injuries can be benefited by bioengineering. The process of growing skin grafts in culture dishes to heal wounds is already being practiced around the nation. Normally, the skin would be taken from tissue donors, but this process is dangerous and unsanitary in some aspects.

Produce and vegetables around the world have been genetically altered. A lot of the corn we eat these days is actually a genetic hybrid. It has been changed so that an insect known as the Corn Borer would stop eating it. It is a healthy alternative to harsh pesticides. The hybrid process was also designed to make the corn heartier and grow bigger, conserve soil better, and have a longer shelf life. So far, this change has had no adverse effects on humans, and it actually lowers the price of the produce. This is because the crops are less likely to fail.

It isn't all good when it comes to these new technologies, though. Many consequences have resulted or can result, and there are many misconceptions when it comes to cloning. Many people see in the movies that the scientists clone famous people and they come back as the same person as if they'd never left. This is simply not true. If scientists were to really clone a famous person in history, the resulting clone would only look like the original person, like a twin. Their minds would be completely different.

Clones have a much shorter life span and a higher risk of cancer than the original specimen, too. There are

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