The inquisitive nature and curiosity of man coupled with intellect and an urge to discover brings about such break-through advancements in the world of science daily that are enough to spell-bound man himself!
Among the many feathers that man has been adding to his cap, a recent addition is CLONING. While accomplishing the impossible and continuing the never ending quest, he has reached a point where he has begun to duplicate himself. What began with the experiments on frogs, mice and then sheep has now culminated in the experiments on MAN himself.
It is hard to predict the swiftness, with which all this will turn into reality but according to an eminent Harvard biologist Jim Watson, “Worrying about cloning is like worrying about a tiger after it has jumped into your house, it is going to occur anyway”
Cloning can broadly be categorized into four types:
1. Reproductive Cloning
This refers to the techniques used for controlled reproduction without sexual activity. For example the cloning used during the experiments related to the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep.
2. Embryo Cloning
This is the technique of creating embryos or stem cells for the purposes of research in the laboratories. It is hoped that advancements in this field can lead to the methods for the cure of many lethal diseases.
3. Therapeutic Cloning
The method used creating identical copies of the different organs and tissues. It can save many lives of the people which are lost while waiting for organ donations.
4. Gene Cloning
It involves the experimentation with the genetic makeup of different organisms to produce different and new species.
Coming to the question that how will cloning affect the world in the next ten years, quite many predictions are made by the researchers and biologists in this regard. In addition there are also many apprehensions with respect to these advancements in the minds of the opponents of the research and execution of cloning, especially gene cloning. Some of these effects are briefly discussed below:
If the human cloning turns into reality, the human beings will be able to produce themselves in pretty much the same way as Barbie dolls. Many odd things might happen, because playing with nature ought to have its demerits too. Equipped with the techniques of cloning, man would be able to produce hordes of army men, labour and work force. But doing so will turn humans into mere automatons and even may lead to population explosion causing irreversible damages to the planet earth.
If the gene cloning becomes flawlessly possible, who knows one day we shall have blue eggs on the breakfast table laid by a genetically mutated hen! We might have the guard dogs with wings too by cloning the genes of birds and dogs! Nothing is impossible and the probability of these strange and queer happenings in the animal kingdom no more seems a far-fetched idea, given the present equally queer happenings in the plant world today.
Sounds interesting but not true yet, perhaps we have to wait till the time the scientists come up with the realization of the strange ideas!
But what do you think? Would cloning really be a problem?
The writer is the Pakistan correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of Science.
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