Cloning is commonly associated with science fiction, but it isn't only fiction anymore. The beginnings of cloning lie in 5000 B.C., where early humans figured out that they could improve their corn crop by planting seeds from the best plants. This knowledge of gene inheritance wasn't made official until Gregor Mendel published his book, Experiments in Plant Hybridization, in 1866.
Later that year, Hans Spemann divided a salamander embryo in two to show that even early forms of organisms retain genetic information. This was the first time the natural cloning that produces identical twins, triplets, etc. was officially showcased.
One year later, the term clon was coined by Herbert Webber of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, which later turns into clone.
In 1952, Briggs and King clone frogs via nuclear transfer. Although this was successful, for 40 years, scientists would doubt the idea of cloning "higher animals" using adult cells. The possibility of this was only accepted after F.C. Steward cloned a carrot plant from root cells in 1958. The first successful animal clone using adult cells was done by John Gurdon, when he cloned a frog using differentiated adult cells in 1962.
This is Dolly the Sheep, the first animal to be cloned from adult animal cells. This staggering 1996 event inspired many similar clonings to happen within the next few years. In 1967, a mouse, a cow, a rhesus monkey were all cloned by various institutions. There was even another sheep named Polly, which had a human gene in all of its cells.
In 1999, the first male clone, Fibro, was created in University of Hawaii. Then, in 2000, in Britain, the Geron Corporation received the first patent on early-stage cloned human embryos. These embryos were not complete until 2001. However, they were to be used for stem-cell harvesting and research, rather than reproduction.
In 2004, Britain announced the world's first stem cell bank is announced which could be used to recreate organs for people with malfunctioning one.
- It could eliminate defective genes
- It could aid in injury recovery
- It could eliminate infirtility
- It could cure many disorders
- It risks the possibility of faster aging
- It conflicts with nature
- It goes against religious principles
- It devalues human life
- It could be exploited