Scientific Breakthroughs: Is Cloning one of Them?
DNA testing has been used to advance science in incredible ways. Cloning is one of the most controversial advances as it stirs up a whole cloud of ethical dilemmas. But scientists recently took a significant step towards cloning human sperm by creating genetic copies of sperm taken from mice. The hope is that this DNA testing and experimentation will lead to future treatments for male infertility.
Scientist bred the mice from cloned sperm at Cornell University in New York. The techniques used involved DNA testing to create genetic copies of sperm taken from the mice in a similar technique to that used for Dolly the sheep. Dolly was the first successfully cloned sheep. The cloned sperm fertilised mouse eggs implanted into surrogate mothers. Several mice have been born although a number died shortly after birth. However, the experiment is a big step towards using DNA and genetic cloning in medicine for humans.
DNA Testing and Humans
However, using DNA analysis in mice is one thing but quite another in humans. Testing DNA and genetic cloning is highly controversial but some scientists believe the break-through could help treat men suffering from infertility. The team of scientists cloned the mice sperm by taking DNA-containing heads from normal sperm cells and injecting them into mouse eggs – cell division was then triggered by an electrical jolt.
The experiments on the mice have taken more than one attempt. Initial DNA based tests and egg implants failed after all the mice born died. The second and third tests however produced mice that went on to produce their own offspring. DNA tests proved the cloned sperm was genetically identical in the majority of cases.
Advances in Genetic Cloning
Advances in science using DNA testing and cloning could mean that doctors in the future could test for genetic abnormalities before children are even born. However, such scientific advances are still a long way off.
World’s First Genome Transplant
Scientists have also recently succeeded in the world’s first genome transplant – this opens the door on the creation of synthetic forms of life. Work is being done into building new microbes to produce environmentally friendly fuels, which could have significant benefits on global warming.
Have you watched Jurassic Park? Could this be a Reality?
Jurassic Park was one of the highest grossing films of all time and its central premise surrounded the use of DNA testing to genetically engineer dinosaurs. This may seem like it should be filed firmly in the realms of fantasy but are advancements in the field of DNA making it likely that dinosaurs could roam the earth once more. This story is worth a read. Click here.
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