if we managed to clone a sheep 20 years ago, why has so little progress happened since then with?


Cloning seems like it has the potential to cure disabilities and diseases, and also make farming easier. With so many potential uses why is it that nothing major has happened since Dolly the sheep?

In: 1789

Genetic technology yes has many possible good things.

But we’ve discovered that cloning sucks. Most cloned animals die much younger than a normal birthed animal.

The theory for this is that cloned animals are inheriting the original adults damaged DNA. That the things like Telomeres that help protect DNA are already warn down from years in the adult animal, and are not remade/refurbished/rejuvenated like they are when a traditional sperm and egg cell merge together.

So while genetics has a lot of possibilities, it seems right now that cloning organisms isn’t a really useful one.

First off, in terms of farming, plants are cloned all the time. It’s amazingly easy, just take a cutting and keep it alive and it’ll will grow roots and become a new plant which is a clone of the original.

Cloning technology is alive and well, and making a positive therapeutic impact in modern medicine. We haven’t gotten to the point of growing a new liver in the lab for transplant yet (we’ll get there!), but one great example is an anticancer treatment called CAR T-cells. Killer T-cells are one of the immune defenses which kill invading pathogens. We can extract T-cells from a cancer patient, genetically modify them to enhance their ability to fight cancer, then clone the new T-cells and reintroduce them into the patient. These treatments are TREMENDOUSLY powerful, so much so that the primary side effects relate to them being TOO effective. These are most effective in blood cancers but researchers are working on making them effective against solid tumors as well. Many, many patients have been completely cured with what would have been a death sentence a few decades ago!

Cloning is only one result from a set of knowledge and technology involving manipulating how organisms mature and grow from a single cell.

Honestly, cloning sheep is pretty useless considering I can make a new sheep the old fashioned way for free (given 2 sheep).

BUT we are making tremendous progress in other forms of growing “custom” organisms. For example we just genetically modified and then grew viable pigs with such human-like organs that we had 2 successful pig-human heart transplants. Seriously this was like a month ago. Who cares about a cloned sheep when you grow custom transplant organs at will for whoever needs them?

Not dissing clone, it’s just that it’s missing the achievement (advanced genetic manipulation) from the result (another sheep).

There have been a lot of progress in cloning in the last 20 years. There are a number of different animals being cloned for various reasons. Extinct animals are being cloned back from extinction, old variants of animals are being cloned to reduce the effect of inbreeding, animals are being cloned using edited genes to reduce genetical diseases and to produce favorable traits. There are even companies out there who can clone your pets for you, or even price winning livestock.

However you do not tend to hear so much about this in mainstream news. The Dolly cloning was not in the news for its scientific achievement but rather for the ethical dilema it presented. If scientists were able to clone mammals then they could likely clone humans as well. And that posed a huge ethical and political question. This was why everyone heard about Dolly the Sheep, as a backstory to the question of human cloning. The other cloning achievements are not as much talked about. In fact cloning have almost quietly become a mainstream part of our every day life. For example we are now cassualy talking about the possability of cloning human organs as part of medical treatments which is far more advanced then just cloning a human.

How do you think cloning cures disabilities and diseases? Nobody’s health is perfect, and if you clone them, you clone their congenital health problems too. Same is true of animal husbandry.

Also, I’m having trouble finding reference to it now, but I read way back then that something like 50+ malformed, disfigured and hopelessly non-sheep-like “things” were created before Dolly was successfully cloned. Most of these were (fortunately) put out of their misery when they were still quite young. Is that really the kind of experimentation we want to be doing as a society? I’m an Engineer, I love science and experimentation, but that sounds a lot closer to a torture chamber than a laboratory.