Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms.
In 2001, when it became apparent that animal cloning may become a commercial venture to help improve the quality of herds, FDA requested livestock producers and researchers to keep food from animal clones or their offspring out of the food supply.
Newly developed techniques could make cloning Neanderthal cells or body parts a reality within a few years. The ability to use the genes of extinct hominins is going to force the field of paleoanthropology into some unfamiliar ethical territory.
Human cloning is still making headlines six years after the birth of the first clone child,” Boisselier added. “But even if the media still present it as being too controversial, the public is much less afraid of it than it was initially.
Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory have reprogrammed an adult human egg cell to an embryonic state using cloning technology and created a self-reproducing line of embryonic stem cells from the developing embryo.
Basically, stem cells are found in every living organism. These are the base level cells that are able to replicate themselves and form more complex structures, such as body organs in a human. Mammals have two types of stem cells, embryonic and adult models.
The two fundamental steps involved in cloning a mammoth, or any other extinct animal, are to recover its complete DNA sequence—in the case of mammoths, estimated to be more than 4.5 billion base pairs long—and to express this data in flesh and blood.
There has been a breakthrough with human stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can be grown to produce organs or tissues to repair or replace damaged ones. Skin for burn victims, brain cells for the brain damaged, spinal cord cells for quadriplegics and paraplegics, hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys could be produced.
With cloning, infertile couples could have children. Despite getting a fair amount of publicity in the news current treatments for infertility, in terms of percentages, are not very successful. One estimate is that current infertility treatments are less than 10 percent successful.
Researchers said Wednesday they used a cloning technique to create human embryos that were close genetic copies of the people from which they were derived—a potentially significant breakthrough in the quest to develop patient-specific stem cells to treat serious diseases.
A cloning in the biological sense, therefore, is a molecule, single cell (like bacteria, lymphocytes etc.) or multi-cellular organism that has been directly copied from and is therefore genetically identical to another living organism.
Frequently, the term cloning is misleadingly used to refer to the identification of the chromosomal location of a gene associated with a particular phenotype of interest.
After years of debate, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday declared that food from cloned animals and their progeny is safe to eat, clearing the way for milk and meat derived from genetic copies of prized dairy cows, steers and hogs to be sold at the grocery store.
"There are a number of genetic diseases for which there is no cure ... and this [Cloning] will enable us to carry out research into the causes of those diseases and perhaps develop method to treat them," Dr. Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute said following the announcement.