Despite the wide debates, very few actually know and argue the facts about cloning. To clone a horse, or any animal, cells need to be taken from a donor. Usually, these cells are appropriated from the ears or chest of the animal. After these cells are retrieved, they have several different options for destinations. They can be placed into a nucleus-lacking, unfertilized egg or genetically engineered into an embryo. Once that step is finalized, they are either jolted with a pulse of electricity to start cell division or they are frozen for later use. The ones that have begun to divide are usually placed into a surrogate’s or host’s uterus to continue on in normal gestation. They also can be used to cultivate organ tissues. The first clone was produced in 1997 and is known as Dolly the Sheep. Then, in 2003, a horse and 3 mules were successfully cloned in a similar style as Dolly. In 2013, not too long ago, Dr. Shoukhart Mitalipov stated that cloning these days is just a science project. This lead many to believe that it would never evolve into anything worthwhile. In today’s world, very little cloning is actually taking place. Some scientist have begun to attempt to clone endangered species to try to preserve them. Many scientists claim that cloning could affect the future of medicines, tissue regeneration, embryology, cancer treatments, and solutions for infertility, to name just a few.
Cloning has 2 main methods. The first is how Dolly the sheep was created. DNA is taken from skin cells of a donor, put into an egg without a nucleus, charged with an electrical pulse to start cell division, and then placed into a host uterus to develop in normal gestation. The second way is when DNA is taken from skin cells then genetically engineered back into an embryotic state. The embryo is either placed into an animal to grow into a fetus or is grown into different types of tissues t be used later on. Today’s technology could morph into infertility solutions, but numerous scientists argue that it is too unpredictable and unsafe to perform on humans. Equine communities are slowly starting to accept cloned animals into sporting events, but many competitors are still against this new exception to the old rules. The world has the technology to clone nearly anything and everything ;however, ethics, morals, and safety always come into question. Most would agree that it needs to have improved accuracy and stability before it goes any further. If the word cloning were to be spoken in any given conversation, many would agree that it corresponds directly to money, specifically large amounts of it. Since so many animals have been cloned, there is a sizeable range of costs. Some of the cheapest cloning methods involve pets, more specifically, cats and dogs. They range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.
To most, that amount of money could be equivalent to the price of a small used car! Coming in at around $40,000 is cattle. Cattle is usually not a choice to be cloned because of their low value, other than for meat or genetics purposes. Horses are one of the biggest industries of cloning, because of their variety of uses and general value. In Texas, a company claims to be able to clone a horse to produce a live foal for $150,000! That is the price of a decent sized home for many Americans! Most of the horses cloned at that facility are champion horses. This is mainly done to pass on genetics when a gelding’s sperm was not saved before castration. Human cloning has been estimated to cost upwards of $2 million dollars! However, because it hasn’t been achieved, the price is just an approximation. Many frown upon the costs of cloning because of the time-to-cost ratio. It takes a prolonged amount of time for a product to result for the amount of money that it costs to produce a clone. Also, the system does not have a 100% guarantee, meaning that large investment could be wasted money. Personally, I think cloning is a poor definition choice for what is actually being done. Technically, an exact copy offspring can not be resulted because of the workings of DNA.
However, I do see the benefits of cloning technologies in the medicinal fields. Infertility is a big tabooed topic these days, mainly because many don’t understand it and there aren’t many solutions to the numerous problems. Also, cancer has affected many people on this earth, so if cloning can either reduce those numbers or eliminate them completely, the medicinal world will be majorly befitted. I feel these subjects should only be approached with cloning when it safety, morality, and techniques are perfected to protect everyone and everything involved. On the topic of infertility, I also believe that designer babies should not be allowed. Parents, no matter how desperate they be, should not be allowed to design their own offspring. It makes it seem as if they are trying to play God. As far as livestock, I am on the fence. I can see the benefit of cloning in horses and endangered species to preserve blood lines and keep certain genetics going, but it appears to be meaningless otherwise.
Pets may seem like a member of the family to some owners, but I wouldn’t go as far as cloning them to have the same pet again. Clones, in my opinion, should not be allowed to compete in sporting events like rodeos or showing events. It seems like a loophole to cheating, despite the new rules condoning it. In conclusion, cloning will always be a highly debated topic, and, despite technological advances, morality, ethics, and safety will always need to be questioned. I have no doubt that cloning can change the world, for the better at least. Until then, we as humans cannot allow ourselves to play the role of God. Science, as many other subjects, needs to have its limits and scientists need to know where to draw their lines.
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