Cloning of animals

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Cloning of Animals

On Sunday, February 23, 1997, Scottish researchers broke one of nature's greatest laws by cloning a lamb from a single cell of an adult ewe. This breakthrough opens the door to the possibility for the cloning of other mammals including humans.

This remarkable achievement is being looked at as a great advancement in animal agriculture. But this achievement could lead to ethical questions of standard.

Researchers lead by Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, showed that a fully differentiated cell from the mammary tissue of an ewe could be manipulated in such a way as to produce a genetically identical copy of the animal that the DNA was acquired.

Scientist long believed that once a cell became differentiated, that most of its approximately 100,000 genes shut off. Only a few genes remained active to allow the cell to perform its specific function of life.

All efforts to reactivate the shut-off genes have failed. English researchers have came the closest by teasing frog body cells to develop into tadpoles. The tadpoles, however, never matured into frogs.

The Scottish researchers have failed many times with sheep cells before their success, but the task was perfected and accomplished. Now this accomplishment has made it possible for the cloning of almost any mammal, including humans.

To the average person, exactly how the technique works is unclear. Scientist predicted that by making cells dormant and bringing them close to death, something happens to break the chemical locks (barriers) that keep most of the genes inactive. The mammary cell is inserted into an unfertilized sheep egg cell that has already had all of its own genetic material removed. By fusing the cells together tricks the egg into thinking that it has become fertilized.

After being fused...