What Is Reproductive Cloning Used For?
Reproductive cloning has only been used for research purposes, however, its future implications are staggering. Reproductive cloning could be used effectively for repopulating endangered species or to help make breeding of specific animals easier.
Reproductive cloning uses could also include the production of organisms with specific characteristics, such as drug-producing animals or genetically "unique" animals.
Therapeutic cloning is performed, not to produce another organism, but to harvest embryonic stem cells for use in medical treatments. Embryonic stem cells are those cells found inside of developing embryos. They can be used to produce a number of different cells including tissue, muscle, and organ cells.
How is Therapeutic Cloning Performed?
The therapeutic cloning process is very similar to that of reproductive cloning, however, instead of implanting the dividing embryo into a host, it
s stem cells are removed and the embryo dies.
A cell is removed from the patient requiring medical treatment. The nucleus of this cell is removed and inserted into an empty donor egg. Division is encouraged through the use of special chemicals or an electric current.
The resulting embryonic stem cells are then removed from this embryo and used to treat the patient.
What is Therapeutic Cloning Used For?
Therapeutic cloning is intended for medical use. The embryonic stem cells that this type of cloning produces can be used to create skin for burn victims, organs for transplant patients, or cells for those with spinal cord injuries.
And because the cells come from the patient herself, there are no issues of cell rejection. Therapeutic cloning may also help those suffering from heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, or Parkinson's Disease.
Ethical Concerns about Cloning
There are a number of ethical concerns surrounding the use of reproductive and therapeutic cloning. Many people are against the cloning of embryos or the use of embryonic stem cells for research or therapeutic purposes.
Reproductive cloning is of particular concern. Many people see the cloning of plants and animals as interfering with the progression of nature.
People also fear that human cloning could take place, and could result in the cloning of human babies tailored to specific genetic characteristics.
Therapeutic cloning is also hotly debated. Because human embryos are destroyed after the stem cells are removed, many see therapeutic cloning as unnatural and even barbaric. For this reason, many countries do not allow therapeutic cloning.
Cord Blood Stem Cells and Cloning
If you have chosen to store your child's cord blood, these umbilical stem cells can be used to help treat him in the event of illness or disease. In the future, it may be possible to use cloning techniques to help reproduce these stem cells, so that more are available for your family's use.
Many feel that using umbilical cord blood stem cells for therapeutic cloning is a more ethically and morally responsible way to clone human tissue.
Additionally, obtaining stem cells from umbilical cord blood is much simpler than collecting stem cells from other sources. As stem cell knowledge and techniques advance, the ability to use cord blood stem cells in more diverse ways becomes more of a reality every day.
|Table of Contents|
|1. Therapeutic vs. Reproductive Cloning|
|2. Benefits of therapeutic cloning|