|Live, reproduce, die|
|Life as we know it|
|Divide and multiply|
Cloning is the practice of making a genetically identical copy of an organism, either naturally (such as cell mitosis) or through man-made means.
Most people think of cloning as meaning making an exact copy of sexually-reproducing critters like mammals and, more controversially, the idea of cloning humans.
It is a standard practice in horticulture (tree, shrub, and plant reproduction), due to the fact that many plants utilize this method of reproduction naturally. Branches or stems that lay on the ground can grow roots, and can be separated from the "parent" intentionally or accidentally and become new "individuals" that are genetically identical to their parent. Other plants or trees can sprout what may become new "individuals" from their root systems. Also many plants can be split into several individuals mechanically.
Human cloning is the eponymous process of cloning humans. It is the creation of a genetically identical human from the DNA of an existing critter in our genus. While human clones have technically existed for as long as humans have - they're called "identical twins" - the latent idea of intentional human cloning is controversial. Laws in many countries and several US states ban attempts to intentionally create full-grown human clones, although licences to clone embryos for therapeutic use and research are granted in some places, such as the genetics research centre at the University of Newcastle.
Pet cats and dogs have been commercially cloned since 2004, with companies charging grieving families $50,000 or $100,000 a pop to bring back a copy of a dead pet. Sooam Biotech claims to be able to clone a puppy up to 12 days after the death of an original pet dog.
The practice of cloning organs, particularly human organs, is the object of ongoing research. The idea of growing cloned organs from a person's own cells is certainly very promising, as it would solve many potential problems associated with organ transplants; patients wouldn't have to wait for donors, and transplant rejections would be a thing of the past. In addition, the kidney black market would go out of business,[note 1] which would probably make jittery tourists feel more at ease. Cloning organs has also been semi-successful in cows.
Problems with full reproductive cloning
In reality, human cloning is nowhere near as straightforward as it is in science fiction (where the clonee typically finds that their clone is a full adult version of themselves, including personality) because:
- The science and technology to rapidly age a person to maturity is much, much further off and less practical than it is portrayed.
- The success rate of any cloning procedure ranges from 0.1 percent to 3 percent which is equivalent to 970 to 999 failures in 1000 tries. It would be difficult to recruit the necessary 1,000 surrogate mothers necessary for an experiment.
- Of the successful clones which are brought to term, many seem to have some form of abnormality.
In the Mahabarata
B.G. Matapurkar, a surgeon with the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, has stated the 100 Kauravas he says were created from an embryo divided into 100 "were products of a technology that modern science has not even developed yet". It's worth mentioning they are the bad guys according to most Vaishnavites.
- Except those for the restaurant trade
- British couple celebrate after birth of first cloned puppy of its kind, The Guardian, 26 December 2015
- Human genome Project: Cloning fact sheet
- cloning risks