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Biology Week 11 Cloning.

B2 1.20 Stem cells in the embryo can differentiate into
all other types of cells
B2 1.21 Embryonic stem cell research

B2 1.17 Cloning is an example

of asexual reproduction that
produces genetically identical
B2 1.18 The stages in the
production of cloned
B2 1.19 Advantages
disadvantages and risks of
cloning mammals

Stem cells can differentiate (specialise) into different types of cells.

Remember A fertilised egg divides (by Mitosis) to produce an embryo.
The embryonic cells begin the same (undifferentiated), and are commonly called embryonic
stem cells.

The embryonic stem cells divide to

produce either more stem cells, or
different types of cell, specialised cells
(e.g. red blood cells, white blood cells,
liver cells etc.) This process is called
Most animal cells lose their ability to differentiate early
during development. However, plants dont ever lose this
ability. Adult Humans only have stem cells in bone
marrow which arent as versatile as embryonic stem
cells as they cant differentiate into all cell types.

Many people are opposed to embryonic stem cell research; arguing that
human embryos should not be used for experimentation as each is potentially
a human life.

Those people opposed suggest

science should find alternatives
(e.g. bone marrow). As such,
the UK has very strict guidelines
allowing stem cell research.
Other countries (e.g. Germany
stem cell research is banned).

On the other hand, some think

that using embryonic stem
cells as potential cures should
important the than potential
life of embryos. The point
made is that embryos used for
research tend to come from
fertility clinics thus are
unused, and would otherwise
be destroyed. Having an
unlimited supply of different
types of cell can be very

transplanting into damaged
tissues (Stem cell therapy).

Currently the use of

adult stem cells is
used to cure some
diseases e.g. sickle
cell anaemia (using
bone marrow
remember bone
marrow contains
undifferentiated stem
cells which can
produce new red
blood cells.

For example, it may be

possible to create new
cardiac muscle helping
those with heart disease.
Stem cell therapy is also
ideal for Parkinsons and

Moreover, scientists have been

experimenting with stem cells, extracting
them from early embryos, and growing
them into new, differentiated specialised
cells. However, before the full capacity of
the pros (and cons) of stem cell research
can be realised, much research must be
done along with careful consideration of
the ethical implications Remember,
many think that it is unethical to use
embryos for scientific research.

Risks of Stem cell therapy

may include:
Rejection of the
embryonic stem cell. Side
affects and complications
in the recipient. Stem cells
may trigger an immune
response or even
contribute to the
development of certain
cancers. Mutations being
carried from the adult
stem cells which can
then become defective (or

Remember asexual
Asexual reproduction is a
form of cloning.
Remember that some
organisms can reproduce
(by mitosis) e.g.
remember strawberry
plants - which form
runners, that become new
This was an example of
asexual reproduction
since the new plants have
exactly the same genes as
the parent plant (there is no
genetic variation) the
plants are clones!
But what about cloning
Well that were we

This form of
reproduction is
called: Asexual

E.g. Aphids and


All offspring
have exactly the
same genes as
the parent.

and Strawberries

The term clone refers to a genetically identical

Molecular cloning (covered last week) involves
the isolation of a specific sequence of DNA,
usually one that encodes a particular protein.
Hostvector systems allow propagation of foreign DNA
in bacteria: The ability to propagate DNA in a host cell requires a
vector (something to carry the recombinant DNA
molecule) that can replicate in the host when it has
been introduced.
This week

The most flexible and common host used for molecular

cloning is the bacterium E. coli. The most commonly
used vectors are plasmids.

Reproductive cloning Dolly the Sheep!

Dolly matured into an
adult ewe, she was able to
reproduce (the oldfashioned way!), &
produced six lambs. Dolly
established beyond all
dispute that determination
in animals is reversible
that with the right
techniques, the nucleus of
a fully differentiated cell
can be reprogrammed to
be totipotent

1) They removed differentiated mammary cells from the udder of a six-year-old sheep. The cells were grown in
tissue culture, and then the concentration of nutrients was reduced for 5 days, causing them to pause at the
beginning of the cell cycle
2) Simultaneously, eggs obtained
from a ewe were enucleated.
3) Mammary cells and egg cells were surgically
combined in a process called somatic cell
nuclear transfer (SCNT).
Mammary cells and eggs were fused to
introduce the mammary nucleus into egg.
4) 29 developed into embryos,
which were then placed into the
reproductive tracts of surrogate mothers.
5) 5 months later, on July 5, 1996, one sheep
gave birth to a lamb named Dolly, the first clone
generated from a fully differentiated animal cell.

Therapeutic Cloning
First, skin cells are
isolated; then, using the
same procedure that
created Dolly, an
embryo is assembled.
After removing the
nucleus from the skin
cell, they insert it into an
egg whose nucleus has
already been removed.

Therapeutic cloning successfully addresses the key problem that must

be solved before stem cells can be used to repair human tissues
damaged by heart attack, nerve injury, diabetes, or Parkinson disease

The problem of immune acceptance...

Since stem cells are cloned from a persons
own tissues in therapeutic cloning, they
pass the immune systems self identity
check, and the body readily accepts them.

Cloning has many potential

uses, for example:

Endangered animals could be cloned in

an attempt to help conserve these
vulnerable species.

Cloning mammals could help provide organs for organ transplants (which
would help solve the organ shortage problem).

Studying cloned animals could have proved greater understanding of

developmental embryology and thus, help us understand ageing, and age
related diseases (disorders).

Unfortunately, at the moment there are many issues and

controversies that surround cloning animals.
For example clones lead to a reduced gene pool i.e. less
genetic variation with a population. This means fewer alleles and
means more vulnerability for that particular species.

Remember, if a
population is closely
related (few genetically
different alleles) and a
new disease appeared, it
could potentially wipe
out the population. This
is because there may not
be a disease resistant
allele in the population.

Cloning, whilst quite an easy technique is fraught

with issues. The cloning process itself often fails (it
took over 400 attempts to clone dolly).

Clones are often born

with genetic defects.
And Cloned animals
often have weakened
immune systems
resulting in them being
unhealthier, hence
suffering from more

For example, the cloning procedure often fails to produce a viable clone. Dolly
the sheep is the most famous example of a cloned mammal and she only lived
to be 6 years old (which is about half the age many healthy sheep live to).
Dolly had to put down because she had many age related problems e.g.
arthritis and lung disease

Many People believe this is due to Dolly (the clone) being

cloned from an older sheep as such it has been
suggested that dollys true age was much older. It is
possible however, dolly was just unlucky, and succumbed
to these diseases naturally.