What is Animal Cloning?
Animal cloning is a biological process through which a parent individual is used to produce offspring that is identical to the parent due to the same genetic makeup. The process is mainly done through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
What is SCNT?
SCNT is a somatic cell nuclear transfer process used to produce animal clones. In this process, the DNA from the nucleus of the somatic cell is taken from the donor and is inserted into the oocyte or egg cell, which has its nucleus containing DNA removed. This insertion of DNA from the somatic cell is carried out by two means.
In the first method, the DNA of the oocyte is removed with the help of the needle, and an injection is used to inject the DNA of the somatic cell into the egg cell. In the second method, a current of electricity is used to help the DNA of the somatic cell fuse inside the oocyte.
Both ways are wonderful to carry out the process. After the insertion, the oocyte is then placed into the test tube for maturation and implanted into the womb of the female individual for growth and development. The individual produced is identical to the donor and hence known as Clone.
Dolly, The Sheep:-
The first-ever mammal was cloned in 1996 by Ian Wilmut and scientists at Roslin Institute in Edinburg, Scotland. Wilmut and his colleagues cloned a sheep for the very first time successfully and named the genetically identical offspring as Dolly, the sheep. This sheep lived from 1996-2003. This was the beginning of animal cloning.
Reasons for Animal Cloning:
Animal cloning is done for various purposes. Sometimes, it is done to maintain the balance of the habitats. Sometimes, it is done to meet the needs of food. Sometimes, it is done to maintain the food chain and food webs.
Pros and Cons of Animal Cloning:
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. And same is the case for Animal cloning as well. It also has some pros and cons. We will shed light on the pros and cons of animal cloning and elaborate on each point. Let us sum the pros of animal cloning first.
Pros of Animal Cloning:
Following are the pros of animal cloning:
- Animal Cloning Produces Clones with Desirable Characteristics:
Animal cloning gives the advantage of producing clones of animals with desirable characteristics. This is the most crucial fact about animal cloning. With this advantage, we can clone the animals to meet food needs. For example, we can produce cows and buffalos that can give bulk amounts of milk. Similarly, we can produce chicken and goats that give improved meat quality.
- Animal Cloning Is Beneficial for Medical Purposes:
Animal cloning also proves good for the field of medicine. In medicine, there is a protein, antithrombin, produced in the body to prevent blood clotting. However, if this protein lacks, clots will be formed and lead to strokes and severe heart attacks. However, there is a breed of goats that produces this protein naturally. So, animal cloning is used to clone this breed to get more and more antithrombin.
- Animal Cloning Could Help to Eradicate the Problematic Diseases:
The influenza virus is known to be the deadliest virus now. It has taken the lives of millions of people in the year 1918, affecting 20% population of the world. The origin of the influenza virus was found in animals and birds. In this pandemic, many people died within hours after developing symptoms. Animal cloning gives the advantage of using the clones of different species as safety against any of such outraising pandemics.
- Animal Cloning Broadens Up the Scientific Research:
Animal cloning is the modern scientific method that has taught to produce clones of animals with the same genetic makeup. This gives the advantage of doing experiments on the cloning of different organs of the human body and restoring the extinct plants and animals of the past.
- Food and Dairy Obtained from Cloned Animals Are Safe:
In the year 2008, it was declared that the meat and dairy obtained from the animals that are cloned artificially are safe to use and eat. There is no harm in eating and using the meat and dairy of these animals. These animals include chicken, goat, cow, buffalo, fish, etc.
Cons of Animal Cloning:
Though there are numerous pros of animal cloning, yet it has some considerable cons too. Following are some of the cons of animal cloning:
- Animal Cloning Is a Costly Process:
It is not so easy to clone an animal. You need sufficient knowledge about it also you have to invest a lot to carry out this process. On an initial basis, if you are going to clone an animal for livestock, you need to invest approximately 15,000$. For the cloning of cats, you have to invest 20,000$, and cloning dogs is even more expensive. You need to invest 25,000$.; animal cloning is a way expensive process to carry.
- Animal Cloning Is Not Always Successful:
Though, today we have the most modern technology to carry out the process of animal cloning. Yet, there are only 5% chances of successful animal cloning. In most cases, the cloning of animals gets failed, and the investment of money gets in vain. If animal cloning gets successful, then there are possibilities of the stillbirth of the individual. And if the birth of the cloned animal is alive, then there are many threats to the life of the Clone, so a lot of care is needed.
- Cloned Animals Aren’t Able to Reproduce:
There is a considerable drawback of animal cloning that the individuals who produce from animal cloning cannot reproduce. And so their generation does not proceed.
This article keenly explains the entire process of animal cloning along with the elaboration of its pros and cons as well. After reading this article, the reader will know the most important facts about animal cloning.