English 165LB: Literature & Biotechnology (W11)

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Posts Tagged ‘Ishiguro’

Cloning- some history and thoughts

Posted by ktrummer on February 2, 2011

// From Hayley & Kellyn

The science behind cloning is not a recent development, so for many, the idea of a cloned animal does not elicit much surprise. Just as in Never Let Me Go somehow we’re all vaguely aware of cloning in recent history and we’ve more or less accepted it as a presence in our future.

As early as 1952 scientists had cloned a tadpole, extracting the nucleus of one of the original tadpole’s cells and inserting into an egg, giving life to “twin” tadpoles. (1)

In 1993 scientists first cloned human embryonic cells. They took an embryonic cell after it divided into two, and then cultured the cells separately, “creating two different embryos with the same genetic information.” This process mimics the natural creation of identical twins. This led to a public outrage over the cloning of humans. But why is it so much worse to clone humans than animals? (2)

In 1996 Dolly the sheep was born, making her “the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, rather than an embryo.” This was a major breakthrough in the world of cloning. She now resides behind glass in a museum, on display.  (3)

In 2007 a man with HIV received blood stem cells through a bone marrow transplant, which thus far has lead him to be HIV free, leading many to believe that he is cured. The stem cells came from a donor with a rare mutation that resists HIV. According to Jerome Zack, an HIV researcher, “Ultimately, the results would need to be reproduced before researchers could know whether this was an option for treating HIV, Zack said. And, practically, finding donors would be a challenge — only one percent of Northern Europeans are known to have this particular mutation.” Is this how the donating program in Never Let Me Go started? (4)

By 2016 scientists believe they will have cloned a wooly mammoth. (5) What in God’s name will we do with a wooly mammoth?!

Perhaps the most pressing question of all regarding cloning asks whether or not we will ever reproductively clone a human. For what purposes would we do so?

-To further the knowledge of science?
-To satiate our curiosity?
-To replace a lost child?
-For organ donation? As imagined in Never Let Me Go

If we do clone a human being, will that human be allowed to actually be “human?” Will they lead a normal life, or will they be brought into the world without their consent, subject to endless proddings and pokings to further science?

http://humancloningfoundation.blogspot.com/

This is a blog that represents pro-cloning viewpoints. One blogger’s response to people’s resistance of cloning- “It’s no wonder their first digs at this biotechnology come from science fiction and extremists.”

LINKS:

(1) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1862459,00.html

(2) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979522,00.html

(3) http://www.animalresearch.info/en/medical/timeline/Dolly

(4) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40666443/ns/health-aids/

(5) http://www.pcworld.com/article/216872/scientists_to_clone_woolly_mammoth_in_five_years.html

-Hayley and Kellyn

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Cloning discussion thread

Posted by rraley on January 26, 2011

// If you want to post about VAS, use one of the previous discussion threads. Let’s start the topic of cloning here.

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