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Cloning is a method of obtaining several identical organisms by asexual (including vegetative) reproduction. In this way, over millions of years, many species of plants and animals reproduce in nature.
However, now the term "cloning" is usually used in a narrower sense and means copying cells, genes, antibodies and even multicellular organisms in the laboratory. The specimens that have appeared as a result of asexual reproduction are by definition genetically identical, however, hereditary variability can be observed in them, due to random mutations or artificially created by laboratory methods.
With the development of science, concepts such as genetic engineering and cloning have come into use. At first it was an exciting journey, where a person could fantasize, come up with the possibilities that this direction of science would open. This is the healing of all diseases, and the change in the plant and animal world. In recent years, when successes in this area became obvious, the first results appeared, people suddenly thought that not everything is so simple and beautiful in this phenomenon. Thinking and ... scared. Hence, there are many beliefs and myths that illuminate this phenomenon. Accurate information about the latest developments is highly classified, so rumors feed people. Both myths about cloned and genetically modified animals and fictions about artificially modified plants are widespread.
Well, let's try with the help of already available data to figure out what is true and what is fiction. Of course, most of these statements are true for the civilized world and countries. Actions in clandestine laboratories in third world countries defy control and explanation, but they are also limited in their capabilities, because it is difficult for them to match the power of government programs.
Genetic engineering technologies can only help humans. In fact, a lot of money is being invested in the application of these technologies to animals. More than 100 licenses for the use of genetic engineering products for animals have been issued in the USA. Basically, these are biological products, vaccines, and diagnostic tools. Money is constantly being invested in this area, more than $ 400 million is spent annually on research. In general, every year around the world, about 18 billion dollars are spent on treating animals and maintaining their health, of which almost 3 billion are products manufactured using biotechnology.
Cloning and genetic engineering are far from the future. It would seem that the first samples were obtained quite recently - the first clone animal, Dolly the sheep in 1997, and the first living creatures in which an extraneous gene was introduced in 2004. They were the ornamental fish Glowfish, which incorporated the sea anemone gene and were able to fluoresce with red light. Technology and capabilities are developing so rapidly that organizations involved in this business have begun to receive commercial orders with might and main. At the end of 2004, a clone of a recently deceased beloved cat was returned to the owner. And if the cost of such a new pet has reached 50 thousand dollars, then the purchase of such unusual fish is quite affordable for anyone. Large biotech companies have successfully cloned hundreds of cattle, but so far there is no meat or milk on the market. In general, rats, horses, rabbits and pigs have already been successfully cloned in laboratories.
Pets don't need biotechnology. Dogs and cats receive biotechnological vaccines that are far more effective than conventional vaccines. With the help of gene therapy, vision is restored in sick animals, and various malignant tumors and bone cancer are cured. It is even proposed to study (sequenced) the DNA of highly purebred animals to identify useful genes. For domesticated animals, scientists are constantly developing new technologies that are aimed at improving the health of animals, increasing their productivity. With the help of genetically modified feed, which is easily digestible and more nutritious, it achieves a reduction in the cost of keeping animals. Once upon a time, artificial insemination seemed unacceptable, but new technologies will soon become commonplace, helping to improve the breed of animals, reduce the risks of hereditary diseases, and improve the overall health of livestock.
Genetic engineering has been the cause of the last terrible epidemics, such as bird flu, mad cow disease and others. These diseases have nothing to do with this science. On the contrary, biotechnologists around the world are fighting against terrible epidemics, developing new vaccines. For example, in South Korea, a breed of cow has been developed that does not produce the protein that causes mad cow disease. Using gene technology, scientists are trying to control the activity of mosquitoes that transmit malaria and other diseases.
Transplanting animal organs to humans is just fiction. The fact is that such an idea has been in the air for a long time. The first serious experiments were carried out back in the 80s, in one American clinic they tried to transplant the heart of a baboon monkey. However, the organ worked for only 20 minutes. The pig is the closest in genetic makeup to humans, so its organs are successfully used by doctors to treat humans. The heart valves of these animals are transplanted to humans, and the skin is transplanted to the burned site. Several countries are trying to create genetically modified pigs, whose organs will not be rejected by the human body at all.
The famous clone - Dolly the sheep was sick a lot and died prematurely. Indeed, the celebrity sheep lived a little less than the average lives of its fellow tribesmen. The cause of her death was lung disease, which usually occurs in older individuals. However, there is no reason to consider her death as premature aging, since the risk of such a disease increases in individuals who are constantly in a closed room. Dolly, for safety reasons, practically did not graze in the fresh air. Deviations in the structure of chromosomes were found only in one of the first studies and were not confirmed later. So we can assume that Dolly's death came from completely natural causes.
Animals are just a tool for testing new biotechnologies. In fact, technology is meant to improve the health of pets. New vaccines are being developed and actively introduced into veterinary medicine, for example, against rabies. It has become much easier to detect many diseases in the early stages, such as feline AIDS. For farm animals, new developments will help increase the livestock population and reduce the risks of genetic diseases. Scientists have already developed a breed of cows that do not get mastitis. For wild species, work is underway on artificial insemination and in vitro cultivation of embryos, which will allow the preservation of rare and endangered species.
Clones are still different from normal animals. Scientists were also interested in this issue, and special studies were carried out that analyzed all aspects of animal activity - behavior, nutrition, physiological processes. The results showed that there was no difference compared to normal animals.
Cloning does not involve wildlife in any way. Scientists are successfully using cloning to preserve endangered animal species. In recent years, endangered European mouflons, gaura bulls and bantengs have been successfully cloned. A cloned specimen of the latter even lives at the San Diego Zoo. Many zoos are not yet able to recreate living samples of animals, so they create cryobanks in which samples of eggs and tissues of endangered species of animals and birds are stored.
Food obtained from genetically modified or cloned animals is harmful. Animals raised using biotechnology differ from ordinary animals only for the better - and this is a fact. The fact is that for thousands of years people have been breeding new, improved breeds unconsciously and relatively recently began to use genetics. At the same time, scientists control the process and monitor the results much more carefully than an ordinary farmer, if only because of the cost of breeding one animal. After birth, nutritionists and veterinarians begin to closely monitor its development. Agricultural control institutes closely monitor institutions that breed "artificial" animals. Studies carried out by different scientists in different countries have debunked the myth about the dangers of meat and milk of cloned animals, no difference was found in comparison with the products of ordinary animals.
Death rates at birth in cloned animals are much higher than in normal animals. This statement is indeed true, many artificial embryos are not viable, and mortality during childbirth is really high. But even with the usual breeding of animals for breeding, a few are left that correspond to the given parameters of the breeders, the rest, being, sadly, a by-product, are killed.
Ordinary animals get less sick than clones. This is a myth, since studies of many serious institutions (for example, the US National Academy of Sciences) for almost ten years have shown that cloned animals do not have any significant deviations from the health of ordinary individuals.
The entry of genetically modified animals into natural conditions can be dangerous for the environment. Gene modification experiments apply exclusively to domestic and farm animals. Therefore, the likelihood of their getting into the wild is small. However, if suddenly an unusual cat or cow runs away from a person, then they do not pose any danger to wildlife. To begin with, it should be noted that artificial hybrids are poorly adapted for life in the natural environment, the chances of survival for their offspring will be extremely small. Fears are raised by fish, which grow almost 10 times faster than their usual relatives, however, they need much more food, which in their natural environment, in the battle for survival, will be impossible for them to carry out. Therefore, we can say that nature itself will protect itself from uninvited guests.
All research and experimentation is a series of animal abuse. Activist groups are calling for an end to animal testing and the use of computer models. In fact, clone animals and individuals used for experiments are monitored very carefully, they are looked after with special care and they do not need anything, and computer models cannot provide a complete picture. Again, research institutions are scrutinized by government agencies. However, activists are pursuing an aggressive policy, up to the beating of scientists and harassment of their families, which forced the FBI to view their actions as terrorist threats. In the fight for animal rights, which are not infringed at all, people are ready to go for a direct violation of the rights of their fellow citizens! In the United States, the state is defending biomedical research, severely punishing those who use illegal methods to prevent it.
The clone is an exact copy of the progenitor and can take its place. This myth implies the creation of clones of animals or people, exactly the same age, appearance and character. Many are scared that a clone could encroach on the place of its progenitor! However, such opportunities exist only in fantastic stories.
With the help of human clones, it will be possible to raise the necessary specialists. Fantasy paints many raising armies of plumbers or armies of trained military personnel. Refuting this myth, one can notice that, firstly, cloning only reproduces a set of genes, and professional skills are acquired and are not inherited in any way, therefore they cannot be "programmed". Secondly, do not forget that the clone is not someone's slave - it is an independent person with the rights of an ordinary person. Who can make him be who he doesn't want? The law will protect the rights of such a person. Well, the most important argument is economic. The cost of human cloning is still high, therefore, even taking into account the development and improvement of technology, the production of a large number of clones for the purpose of their certain specialization is simply unprofitable.
In the process of cloning, a nucleus is released from a normal human cell, which is transferred to a female egg, in which the nucleus has been previously removed. Further, such a cell is placed in a nutrient medium, where it begins to divide, over time an embryo appears, which, in the case of a person, is carried for 9 months. After birth, a clone, like an ordinary person, will go through all stages of life - growth and development. The resulting personality will differ from the progenitor in almost everything - in age, character, habits and even fingerprints, even the appearance will be slightly different, because even identical twins are different from each other. A great influence on the development of a clone will be exerted by the environment in which it will grow and be brought up.