Cloning--A Webliography

Introduction to Cloning

Latest News/Science

Companies

Public Policy/ Laws

Ethics

References

 

About this Site

This site was last updated on March 4, 2009

 

This Webliography is intended to help you find the best, most reliable information about animal and human cloning available on the Web. There are links of interest to everyone from students and the public to scientists. If you are new to the topic or want to understand how cloning works, start with the Introduction to Cloning page.

Cloning has been one of the hottest topics in biotechnology and biomedical research for the last several years. Not to be confused with gene cloning, molecular cloning, or cell cloning, whole organism cloning results in a clone as defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as "an individual organism that was grown from a single body cell of its parent and that is genetically identical to it."(1) The idea that a higher organism could be a clone of another is certainly not new. Among animals, twinning occurs naturally, producing two separate organisms with the same genetic makeup. Scientists in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's demonstrated that they were able to clone frog tadpoles from frog embryonic cells using nuclear transfer. Later, in the 1980's, scientists created clones of mammals by splitting embryos in a process called "artificial twinning" or by nuclear transfer using embryonic cells (2).

A major breakthrough in animal cloning occurred in 1997 when Ian Wilmut and his group at the Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned a sheep (Dolly) using genetic material from a non-embryonic cell, an adult mammary gland cell (3). The nuclear transfer process whereby they accomplished this is described at several Background Web sites. Once it was proven possible to clone a new animal from the cell of an adult animal, other groups began to experiment with cloning different species. Cloning from adult cells means that it is possible to be more certain ahead of time what the cloned animal will be like. To date, cloned animals include sheep, cattle (4,5), mice (6,7), pigs (8,9), goats (10), cats (11), rabbits (12), rats (14), mules (15), horses (13), and deer (16).

Of course, the issue of cloning has brought up many legal and ethical issues, both for animal cloning and for human cloning. The Public Policy and Laws page links to information about legislation being passed in the U.S. and around the world as well as the statements of various advocacy groups for public policy. Two types of cloning are being discussed nowadays in relation to humans: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. It is important to understand the difference in order to follow ethical and legal discussions. Another page points to more philosophical and Ethics discussions around the issue of cloning.

Cloning of organisms, like many new technologies, is controversial because it is difficult to predict what good or bad could come from it. Unfortunately many people are misinformed about the different types of cloning, and misinformation is spread by rumor and on the Web. Even people making policy decisions are sometimes swayed by scientifically unproven reports. It is important that everyone educate themselves about the topic using reliable sources of information so that sound decisions can be made about the future.