By Michael Isberto |Staff Writer|
Growing up I told myself, if I won the lottery, I would use my winnings to try to make Jurassic Park a reality.
The only problem, I’ve learned the cloning failure rate could be 999 to 1000.
And, sometimes, the “failure” produces horrible suffering for creatures created through the cloning process.
The good news is these deformed beings often die quickly. Some never manifest any symptoms of life at all.
I learned this from an article published by The University of Utah.
“Cloning animals through somatic cell nuclear transfer is simply inefficient,” stated The Genetic Science Learning Center at The University of Utah.
“The success rate ranges from 0.1 percent to 3 percent, which means that for every 1000 tries, only one to 30 clones are made. Or you can look at it as 970 to 999 failures in 1000 tries.”
As humans, we have more power than any other species. We are creative beings.
But should we have the power to play God? Should we have the power to create other beings?
Maybe, but if we’re going to play God, we should ensure we are doing so from a position that benefits the greatest number of people.
Recently, talks of cloning have made its way back into the news.
South Korean cloning scientist Hwawg Woo-Suk, who was also a part of the research team that extracted DNA from the Wooly Mammoth, is now looking to also clone the Siberian cave lion, another prehistoric animal.
The Siberian Times stated, “Two infant prehistoric big cats dating from Pleistocene times – were found in a ‘sensational’ discovery last year, as disclosed by The Siberian Times.”
“The cubs were dug from their icy graves, complete with all their body parts: fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers’,” said Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences.
The question of ethics will usually always come into play with something as controversial as cloning, but there are also benefits to cloning.
“One biomedical application of the cloning technique is genetically modifying animals so that their cells and organs can be transplanted into humans,” according to the Scientific American.
“Thousands of people die every year because of the unavailability of human organs for transplantation. Genetically modified animal organs could begin to fill this need,” according to the Scientific American.
The University of Utah Health Sciences also stated that cloning for medical reasons could benefit many people, but they also included a couple additional reasons why scientists might want to clone.
Through cloning, we could revive endangered or extinct species.
With enough money, by cloning, we could resurrect a beloved deceased pet. Through cloning, we could clone animals that only produce the finest milk and meat.
Also, we can genetically modify animals that carry beneficial medicinal resources within them.
This isn’t science fiction. Many of these things have already happened.
In 1996, Dolly the Sheep was the first mammal to be cloned successfully. In 2001, a kitten named CC was the first domestic pet to be cloned.
But with all of these benefits come many risks. The percentage of successful cloning without any problems is extremely low.
There is a high failure rate; there could be problems that occur during later development, there could be abnormal gene expression patterns, and there could even be a disturbance in our current food chain and ecosystem.
These are just some of the risks that could happen in the process of cloning.
This begs the question, how much technology is too much technology? Do we actually need to clone?
As humans, we crave control. It’s innately in our system.
Maybe through cloning, we feel we’re righting some of our wrongs.
If it was our fault for an animal going extinct, maybe resurrecting that animal will make us feel better about ourselves.
But that isn’t our job—maybe certain animals are extinct for a reason. Trying to right our wrongs could potentially make
the situations worse than they are.
The idea of making Jurassic Park a reality is an absurd and ridiculous idea, and even in the movies, it hasn’t quite turned out the way they planned.
Although it would be mind-blowing to see dinosaurs in person, or to resurrect our favorite pet, the risk and failure rate alone is too great.
After looking into the idea of cloning more in-depth, I realized the risks out weigh the benefits, and before we fully support scientists in this endeavor, they need to conduct more research.
“I think we really have to look into it more,” said Natural Science professor Becky Talyn.
“I think each situation would be a case-by-case basis. Is there a good reason for it or is it just curiosity? Which could be a good reason, but we just need assurance that there won’t be any negative repercussions. What are the potential problems of doing it? And can we contain that problem?” continued Talyn.
I think there are a lot of factors to consider and it’s not the same for every possible experiment.
We should be cautious when it comes to something as big as cloning.
There are many reasons why cloning could be beneficial, but are the risks worth it?
With the current amount of knowledge they have—I don’t think so.