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Cloning technology progresses despite controversy

cloning technology

January 13, 2000
Web posted at: 2:05 p.m. EST (1905 GMT)

(CNN) -- While the cloning technology used by Oregon scientists to create the monkey Tetra is new, she is not the first monkey to be cloned. In fact, several mammals have been cloned in the last four years.

Remember Dolly? Dr. Ian Wilmut introduced the world's first cloned mammal, a sheep, in February 1997.

Tetra differs from Dolly. Tetra has both a mother and a father and is a clone of neither. Rather, the offspring of those parents are clones of each other.

Dolly had only one parent, of whom she was a genetic copy. Dolly was developed from an adult animal cell using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Wilmut's 1997 achievement spurred fear, debate and new legislation around the world.

  MESSAGE BOARD
Researchers clone monkey by splitting embryo
 
 VIDEO
VideoCNN's Dr. Steve Salvatore gives a history of cloning.
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President Bill Clinton issued a moratorium banning the use of federal dollars for any project relating to human cloning and asked the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to explore the legal and ethical issues surrounding cloning.

Later in 1997, a bull was cloned. Named Gene, this bull started life as a collection of very basic fetal cells. The cells were grown until they were ready to be put inside a specially prepared cow's egg.

The egg, which had completely new genetic content, was implanted into a cow and months later Gene was born.

Dolly and Gene were joined by calves George and Charlie and cloned sheep Molly and Polly, as well as cloned multiple generations of mice.

Dr. Seed
Dr. Seed says it doesn't bother him to be thought of as "crazy" (Audio 96 K/5 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)  

In January of 1998, nearly a year after Wilmut introduced Dolly, Chicago scientist Dr. Richard Seed said he planned to use the same technology used to produce Dolly to attempt human cloning.

The White House asked for government and private industry to comply with the ban on human cloning, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its authority to regulate human cloning. This made it against federal law to try and clone a human using the cell transfer method that yielded Dolly.

Still, no one can be sure that human cloning activity isn't underway in the private sector. Seed has declared he will attempt human cloning in the future, despite federal regulations.

So cloning experiments that started with frogs and tadpoles in the 1970s have progressed significantly.

Most researchers hope to use cloning as a faster and more efficient way to research drugs and treat diseases. While many say there is tremendous potential to advance medicine through cloning technology, that value is being weighted against the fears of those who say advances could bring disastrous results.



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Should we be cloning around?
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RELATED SITES:
National Bioethics Advisory Commission
Executive Summary -- Cloning Human Beings
New Scientist Planet Science | Cloning Report: Everything you always wanted to know...
Scientific American: Explorations: Cloning Hits the Big Time: 9/2/97
Roslin Institute Online: Information on cloning and nuclear transfer
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