A number of processes are used for creating genetically identical copies of a biological entity. That is known as cloning. It is the most unlikely thing that comes to mind when you think about copying a whole human!
Cloning in a nutshell
In cloning, scientists remove a mature somatic cell (any type of cell, except a sperm or egg cell) from the animal they wish to copy. The desired DNA is then transferred into an egg of the same species that has had its own DNA removed.
The cloned egg is then allowed to mature into an early embryotic stage before it is injected back into the womb of an adult female for gestation. Upon birth, the newborn animal is officially known as a clone.
Dolly the sheep(1996) was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned born.
Cloning is also an important practice in other area of science, which is not the same as reproductive cloning. For example, there is therapeutic cloning, where cloning of embryonic stem cells is done with the goal of creating not a whole being but rather replacing damaged tissue.
In a 2014 study, scientists were able to clone adult stem cells, a huge breakthrough for therapeutic cloning research.
Is there such thing as cloning humans?
Human cloning differs around the world. In the U.S, human cloning is only explicitly outlawed in eight states.
Today human cloning is moving forward with so-called three-person IVF to create human embryos. The justification is that the women will have genetically related offspring who won’t suffer from fatal genetic diseases and that is a sufficiently compelling reason.
Dr Panayiotis Zavos, was the first man to have controversially claimed about human cloning .The biologist from Cyprus is said to have cloned human embryos from 2001 and transferred many of them into the wombs of women who were prepared to give birth to cloned babies.
Since cloning embryos into the human womb is a criminal offense in most countries, Dr. Panayiotis Zavos had worked at a secret laboratory in the Middle East where there is no ban on cloning.Dr. Zavos revealed that he has produced cloned embryos of three dead people, including a 10-year-old child called Cady, who died in a car crash. He did so after being asked by grieving relatives if he could create biological clones of their loved ones.
He feels that with the continuation of research, the benefits of cloning outweigh the possible social consequences. He also goes on by saying that the applications of cloning they envision are not nightmarish and inhumane, but will significantly improve the quality of life science.Through cloning, one can increase the number of the embryos at transfer and that could increase implantation and pregnancy rates.
Dr Zavos believes that “life is good and precious and we should pass it on”!
Future of cloning
For the legal reasons as well as ethical reasons, it’s probable that the future of cloning is more reliable in therapeutic cloning research than reproductive cloning. The only difference between therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning is that in therapeutic cloning the embryo is never transferred into a female’s womb.
The current goals for therapeutic cloning are a means to develop both patient and disease specific therapies for certain conditions. The procedure could also potentially use a patient’s own cells for tissue replacement. Although the science is exciting, it will likely take many decades of research before scientists are able to create transplantable tissue.
Here is a short video clip covered by discovery channel on Dr Zavos