Genetic Engineering - Cloning, DNA, Stem Cells Pros and Cons
Molecular genetics

The future technology

Benefits of Cloning (Pros)

In the medical field, cloning is used to find out about many genes that cause diseases. Cloning also is used to cure diseased (this is called "gene therapy").

A person can find out if he or she has inherited a gene on a chromosome from an affected parent, by a procedure called "genetic screening". If that person has the affected gene, it is possible that he or she will develop the disease.

Gene Therapy can be very useful in curing some diseases. What this does is that a normal gene is introduced into cells of people with a "defective" gene. Thus, the normal gene will behave as if there is no defect, and the patient becomes better. Many scientists are using this technique to try to find cures for cancer and AIDS. However, it is still a very novel technology.

Cloning can be used to improve the quality of the crops that we eat. It makes the plants resistant to herbicides, pest damage, infections and diseases. Cloned plants such as wheat, rice, maize, soybean, potato and others have been produced and are ready to be introduced into agriculture in the new future.

Police can also use cloning for the purpose of identification. This procedure is called genetic fingerprinting. It is done by extracting the DNA from blood, or any body fluid, such as saliva or blood, and cutting the DNA with restriction enzymes.

Each individual has many unique pieces of the cut DNA; you can match the person's bodily fluid with the police sample you have examined.

Possible Advantages

Human cloning could produce many benefits. Human therapeutic cloning could provide genetically identical cells for regenerative medicine, and tissues and organs for transplantation. Such cells, tissues, and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of immunosuppressive drugs.

Both basic research and therapeutic development for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as improvements in burn treatment and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, are areas that might benefit from such new technology.

Human reproductive cloning also would produce benefits. Antinori and Zavos hope to create a fertility treatment that allows parents who are both infertile to have children with at least some of their DNA in their offspring.

Some scientists, including Dr. Richard Seed, suggest that human cloning might obviate the human aging process. How this might work is not entirely clear since the brain or identity would have to be transferred to a cloned body.

Dr. Preston Estep has suggested the terms "replacement cloning" to describe the generation of a clone of a previously living person, and "persistence cloning" to describe the production of a cloned body for the purpose of obviating aging, although he maintains that such procedures currently should be considered science fiction.

In Aubrey de Gray's proposed SENS (Strategy for Engineered negligible senescence) one of the considered options to repair the cell depletion related to cellular senescence is to grow replacement tissues from stem cells harvested from a cloned embryo.

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