Term clone is derived from the Greek word klōn that means twig. Cloning is an asexual biological process in which identical copies or exact replica of anything can be produced. Cloning is of many types i.e. Gene cloning, molecular cloning and cell cloning, recombinant DNA technology or DNA cloning, reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning. Production of identical twins at eight cell stage is also a type of cloning. Clones of insects like arthropods are produced naturally. Tad pole was the first animal to be cloned in 1952. Dolly sheep was the first mammal to be cloned in 1997 in Scotland. Recent attempts of cloning of human beings are done but due to morality issues human cloning has been banned in countries like the United States of America. Cloning that is referred to as an umbrella term that means the replication of any biological material.
Uses of cloning
Cloning has excessive usages in the field of medicine, agriculture, environment etc. The number of advantages of cloning is far more as compared to the number of disadvantages.
• Cloning can be used to clone endangered species which can't be produced that easily thus by producing them from cloning they are kept in suitable conditions so that their population increases Gaur a rare ox like endangered animal was cloned and the clone is now kept in wild life restoration centre in Sardinia. Mouflon a kind of endangered sheep has been successfully cloned through this technique.
• Cloning of extinct species is also a future horizon. Scientists wish to clone extinct organisms like woolly mammoth, dinosaurs, Tasmanian tiger, dodo etc. But cloning them would not be an easy job as their DNA has been highly disturbed in all these years.
• Gene cloning is used to produce vitamins. Hormones, antibiotics etc. It's also used to deal with various ailments like cystic fibrosis, leukaemia, rickets diabetes mellitus, and sickle cell anaemia.
• Nitrogen fixing cyano-bacteria (Nostoc) can be prepared using gene cloning thus having more ability to fix the nitrogen in the air that increases the nitrogen content of the soil providing plants with better environment to grow. These plants are high in nutritional value. It also saves from the usage of expensive agrochemicals i.e. fertilizers.
• Plants of desired genetic traits i.e. of marvellous pedigree are being cloned on large scale they have improved nutritional values, resistance against herbicides and hence the problem of food shortage is being coped up with like this.
• They have fast growth and reproduction rate. Dolly the sheep that was cloned in 1997 produced six healthy off-springs in short span of time, as it died after six years of its birth.
• Stem cells can be cloned to deal with cardiac failures this type of cloning is known as therapeutic cloning it also produces clones of degenerated tissues which leads to the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease.
• Plants produced from cloning are identical to each other so a large number of organisms with the desired trait are produced. They can be inserted with suitable gene and then be cloned to face different situations like saline soils, high temperature resistance, anhydrobiosis, etc. Plants that have slow breeding rate or have dormant seeds are also being cloned as it's fast and easy method of getting desired organism.
• Pig and human genome resemble a lot therefore pig is considered to be a transplant donor for humans in the near future. Pig can be cloned easily and at a very high pace. Although primates stand more close to humans than pigs do but because of their rate of growth and reproduction pigs are preferred over primates. These pigs are termed as "double knock outs" because they lack both the genes that cause organ transplant rejection.
• Dolly sheep was originally cloned because it had high dairy yield. Mammals that have high dairy yield can be cloned for our own use to improve the economy of the nation. Recent efforts of cloning the silkworm are also in progress. This will help altering the present situation and saving us from facing the fibre shortage.
• In future off springs could be produced using somatic cell nuclear transfer technique. Insulin is obtained in the urine of sheep. It's used for treatment of diabetes mellitus.
• Human cloning is not ethically supported right now but in the near future human cloning may be done. To preserve the minds of great scientists as it's believed that Einstein's brain was preserved and he had brain different from the average human being. Human clones may serve the purpose of transplant donors.
• Cloning is a vast topic and can't be summarized in a bunch of lines. Our everyday life includes the applications of cloning one way or the other.
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