1 Dec 2022


Cloning: What is Cloning and How Does it Work?

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Definition of Cloning 

Cloning involves the process of creating an exact genetic copy that replicates another cell, tissue or organism. The end product is a copied material that exhibits similar genetic makeup as the original, and it is referred to as a clone (Brown, 2016).  Cloning may involve three different categories that include gene cloning, reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning. Gene cloning involves the creation of gene copies or the segments of DNA. Reproductive cloning involves the creation of whole organisms while therapeutic cloning involves the creation of the embryonic stem cells. 

History of Cloning 

The history of cloning can be attributed back to the year 1885 when scientist Hans Driesch cloned the sea urchin. In 1902, Hans Spemann conducted the nuclear transfer by splitting the cells of a salamander embryo into distinct cells using a strand of hair from his son’s head. Robert Briggs and Thomas King made their input into the field of cloning when they used the nuclear transfer technology invented by Spemann to clone frogs from cells of the adult donor. The word clone was first used in the year 1963, and it was introduced by scientist J.B.S Haldane. An interspecies clone was made in 1973 by the insertion of an Asian carp DNA into that of the European carp. This was done by Tong Dizhou. The hallmark of cloning was highlighted when Ian Wilmut cloned the first mammal in the name of Dolly, the sheep. The cloning was done from adult cells in 1997. 

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Types of Cloning 

Human cloning involves the creation of a genetically similar copy of an existing or dead human being. It may also involve the practice of growing cloned tissues from the original person. The genetically similar individuals, however, do not exhibit behavioral and cognitive similarities. Cell cloning involves the derivation of a population of cells from a single stem cell. It is mostly employed in unicellular organisms e.g. bacteria through the inoculation into an appropriate medium. Agricultural cloning is the production of plant clones through asexual reproduction. Plants are cloned artificially through a process called tissue culture. The cloning process involves a simple way of cutting away a branch from the plant. 

Organ culture involves the in vitro culturing of an organ or parts of it with the aim of maintaining the normal architecture of the tissue ensuring that it is directed towards normal functioning. For the technique to be successful, it is important that the tissue is never damaged. Tissue cloning involves the duplication of tissues from an original template leading to a genetically identical group of specialized cells to carry out a certain biological function in the body. Tissue cloning can also be done in plants through the same process of cutting as illustrated in plant cloning. 

Advantages of Cloning 

One importance of cloning is the fact that it can solve fertility problems in couples who are unable to conceive a child. The couple can use their genes to create a child through the process of cloning. Cloning would also be important in solving problems related to organs and tissues. Cloning enables a person to create a copy of their vital organ such as kidney or liver that will serve as a backup whenever there is a failure by the original one. Cloning would also enable the filling of family voids, for example, a dead child could be brought back thanks to cloning. Finally, cloning would also enable the formation of designer babies as parents would be able to theoretically choose the traits they wish their babies to possess ( Simpson & Edwards, 2014). 

Disadvantages of Cloning 

Cloning, especially that which involves human beings would bring a sense of divide between the real human beings and the cloned ones. The world is full of stereotype and discrimination, and as such, the cloned human beings would not be spared as there will be a sense that they are lesser human beings. When dealing with genes, as cloning does, there is always a risk of mutations. Mutations could result in death of the cloned person or sometimes lead to extreme abnormalities that may be detrimental to fellow creatures. Cloning could a possibly lead to diseases, especially in the human beings. With the bringing up of entirely different people, and with minimal research, there could be the introduction of potentially dangerous diseases into the human race. Finally, cloning is sometimes viewed as unethical especially by religious quarters who feel that it is playing a role that is solely reserved for God as asserted by Young et al., (2016). 

Current Consequences 

Cloning will have an economic implication on humanity as the cost of human cloning has been estimated to be around $300,000 which is extremely expensive. Future divisions among the society have also been predicted with the emergence of a two class society populated by the rich genetically engineered people whose parents had the financial capabilities and secondly the natural individuals who are born the conventional way. Cloning will also have societal consequences in some ways. Human beings made by cloning will find it difficult to conform to the societal norms and sentiments due to their lack of parental and communal identity. Also, the normal human beings born through the conventional way will find it difficult to interact with the cloned individuals. The political consequences of cloning involve the fear that the world would soon be taken by the cloned individuals regarding leadership. Also, there have been many political inputs that have weighed in on the cloning issue with some countries vehemently opposing the issue while others have supported it. 

The recent scientific consequences of cloning include the fact that cloning of human beings has been rendered unfeasible with little scientific benefits and too many risks. Cloning of animals has also remained minimal although it has windows for growth. Agricultural cloning is successfully being employed in the U.S. and China to capitalize on the genes of the rare species. However, the European Parliament has since banned the cloning of animals for the purpose of food. Cloning has overwhelmingly impacted on the stem cell advancement as a result of the successes witnessed in the creation of the Dolly sheep. 

Controversial Aspects of Cloning 

Those opposed to cloning have argued that there are concerns on the technology with regards to safe cloning. There are fears that the technology is not well developed to guarantee a safe cloning process that is free from abuse. Concerns have also been raised on how the cloned individuals would tend to interact and integrate with the society at large (Vaughn, 2015). The religious groups have also delved into the matter, castigating the aspect of science for trying to assume the role of God. Also, the cloning of animals has faced resistance, especially from the animal groups as many animals suffer various forms of malformations and eventually die as a result of cloning. Concerns about the safety of food from cloned animals remain an area of great controversy. 

In conclusion, cloning also has an implication on the environment in two ways. One it will help to preserve the endangered species of animals through bringing them back to life once they are wiped out. Secondly, since the cloned animals have similar genetic characteristics, any case of a disease would lead to their total wipe out. In my opinion, genetic cloning is an important aspect of the scientific invention because of its ability to restore life. Organ and tissue cloning can enable lives to be saved in cases where such organs are critically damaged. Finally, cloning will ensure continuity in life even after death hence it has a big role in the preservation of life. 


Brown, T. A. (2016).  Gene cloning and DNA analysis: an introduction . John Wiley & Sons. 

Simpson, J. L., & Edwards, R. G. (2014). Public objections to designer babies and cloning in USA: not quite what was expected. 

Vaughn, L. (2015).  Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues . WW Norton & Company. 

Young, A., Lovelady, C., Shivare, M., Glassey, J., Coleman, S., & Porter, A. (2016). Establishing a robust two-step cloning strategy for the generation of cell lines with a high probability of monoclonality. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Cloning: What is Cloning and How Does it Work?.


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