For ages,We humans have been trying to find that Magic Wand which will ward off all evils from our life…..Ultimately we found it…..The answer is Science…..We have managed to bring advances in almost all fields that Human mind can grasp on…..But the only hitch is that,in attempt to find answers to unsolved questions…..We have only increased our quotient of problems….
The latest innovation on the block is Cloning….The concept is nothing new…..The most common bacteria,insects and plants have been reproducing asexually using this process…..But it’s only recently that scientists have coined the term “Clone” and started using this process….to produce genetically similar copies of DNA,cells and even whole organisms…..So,why are scientists so much interested in this new technique-
1) Transgenic animals can be cloned to produce enormous amounts of pharmaceutical products like proteins in their milk or Insulin or factor VIII to treat Hemophilia and other genetic diseases.
2) Stem cells can be cloned to mimic other cells which can pave ways to cure diseases like Cancer and Alzheimer’s as well can be used to study human development
3) Molecular cloning process can help in forensics which helps to get closer cut of crime scenes and the culprit.
4) Cloning can also be used for Organ culture….for growing organs and help the patients who require organ transplants (because of the scarcity of organ donors)
5) Cloning offers couples a chance dealing with problem of infertility to have their own child.
6) To produce transgenic plants that are more stronger,more resistant to diseases and gives better productivity.
7) Attempts are also on for the cloning of extinct and endangered species
Now this is pretty image painted by scientists world wide….who advocate this process….But there are many other prospects which unfortunately cloud all these beneficial facts…..Let’s just burst some bubbles of Myth regarding this technique which for ages has been on the minds of people and also the mainstream subject for many successful fictional movies….
Let’s start off with the beginnings….
1) Transgenic animals without any doubt have the potential for large scale production of commercial products….But the technology is still very uncertain….many complications surround this technique….What ever precautions may be taken,its still quite impossible to match the minute detailing with which Nature creates things in its stride….Best example is Dolly,the cloned sheep…..Its birth bought laurels to its creators….But the sheep survived for only two years which is much shorter than the normal life span of Sheep….and unfortunately died of diseases which were unknown in sheep of her age…..Imagine cloning going wrong all the way and ending up with clones like this….
2) Stem cells are widely being researched for their potential to be manipulated into different cell types….But this brings in storm from ethical groups which consider destroying cells as equivalent to killing the individual itself…..All in all,what’s the guarantee that this technology will not be misused and will not fall into wrong hands like terrorists….The implications would be sheer destruction….No one needs to be reminded of the times when the most developed nation on planet,America was sent into a panic attack when lyophilized samples of Bacillus anthracis….Known to common man as “Anthrax” was mailed to common public….Imagine having deadly weapon lying in your mail box…..Quite frightening!!!!
3) Molecular cloning helps us clone familiar copies of desired DNA fragment which is then used for fingerprinting or desired protein production….But for cloning,we require DNA fragment of desired length….for that we need molecular markers….which have to be designed keeping in mind several factors like Antibiotic resistance genes and others…..which ultimately increases the cost of the product….keeping it out of the reach of the common public….Moreover,losing the gene diversity is another disadvantage….Because gene diversity is only thing that saves a population from being wiped out in climatic difficulties…..
4) Organ culture is being pursued now because of immediate needs for organ,because of the shortage of willing donors…..So now the latest idea is culturing organs from other organisms like pig…..But this raises the essential question of Graft Rejection….will our body’s immune system accept foreign organ from an animal which is completely different from us Humans….what would be the consequences if the experiment went horribly wrong and resulted in the death of the patient…..Taking organs from natural and close relatives will always be the best viable option!!!
5) Next problem which is being claimed to be solved with cloning is Infertility…..but even this is spelled with problems…..The technique being highly uncertain doesn’t always yield the required results….Take the case of Dolly….about 277 embryos were destroyed before Dolly finally materialized….Imagine the heartache the couple would go through if the process failed and left them childless again….Moreover cloning produces an exact copy of original….coupled with the genetic diseases that the person is suffering with…..Do we really need to clone and create more disease ridden copies of our own generations…..The next problem would definitely concern the character of the clone….How can we guarantee that the clone born will be of good moral character and be of any use to the society and not be reason of mayhem….Imagine what will be the result of having many clones of corrupt dictator….Ever thought where the world will end in such a situation!!!!
6) The biggest example of cloning gone wrong all the way is in plants….POMATO….what the scientist were trying to grow was a transgenic plant which produces potatoes in roots and tomatoes in shoots…..But the ultimate result was a disaster…..The plant bore fruits which look like potato on outside and taste like tomato on the inside (Although this may not be problem for people who prefer to have two flavours combined in their food:-P)….
7) The last but not the least are the attempts to “Bring back The DEAD”….That’s right….Scientists are in close contest to clone extinct creatures from their DNA samples retrieved….Asian Gaur and Pyrenean ibese were cloned but new borns died within few months because of physical defects….Last that I heard was that Researchers at Kyoto University are hoping to produce a baby mammoth within 6 years….But then the question arises that….If all dead animals are reborn and start roaming the planet again….Then where would we Humans go???…..Now imagine sharing your garden space with Mammoth or having a Dinosaur hanging around your skyscraper….
Furthermore,in the absence of Natural parents…who would teach these animals their natural behavior or way of life…..We could surely learn a lesson or two from the recently released movie “The Rise Of The Planet Of Apes”……
So friends….I don’t think the idea of “Playing God” is that enticing….Let’s just not complicate things more for ourselves and just leave the job of “CREATION” to Mother Nature…..because creating something that is absolutely perfect is much beyond the Human imagination…..We need to respect Nature…..for It can do(without technology)….what we Humans can never do (despite having that technology)…..