Reproduction and cloning
People may want to clone an animal. They may even want to clone a human body part for transplant surgery. Just like the cloning of plants, the cloning of animals has many important commercial implications. It allows an individual animal with desirable features, such as a cow that produces a lot of milk, to be duplicated several times. But the process takes much longer than it does with plants.
A developing embryo is removed from a pregnant animal at an early stage, before the embryo's cells have had time to become specialised. The cells are separated, grown for a while in a laboratory, and then transplanted into host mothers.
When the offspringoffspring: A new human, animal or plant that is created as a result of reproduction. are born, they are identical to each other. They are not identical to their host mothers, because they contain different genetic information (the offsprings' DNA comes from the original pregnant animal and the father).
Fusion cell cloning involves replacing the nucleus [nucleus: Controls what happens inside the cell. Chromosomes are structures found in the nucleus of most cells. ] of an unfertilised egg with the nucleus from a different cell. The replacement nucleus can come from an embryo, but if it comes from an adult cell, it is called adult cell cloning.
Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be cloned using adult cell cloning. She was born in the UK in 1996 and died in 2003. Here's how she was produced:
You may wish to view this BBC News item from 2006 about how the UK seems to have fallen behind other countries in animal cloning.
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