History of Cloning
Although the word itself has only been around for only four decades, the idea of creating an organism identical to another has been around for centuries. Even nature has utilized this process. The actual process of artificially cloning has been around since before 1900s, even though it is heard of more often in the modern world. Cloning began in 1894 with the first clone of an organism. Hans Dreisch was able to clone a sea urchin, and his research led to Hans Spemann’s multiple attempts and successes of cloning throughout his science years. As technology advanced, Robert Briggs and Thomas King used Spemann’s results to create the process of nuclear transfer used in modern cloning techniques. After many debates over fraud and ethics, the Roslin Institute becomes famous for its scientists who created some of the most famous clones, including Megan and Morag, Dolly, and other sheep. The world of cloning expands with the discovery of new technologies, and the ethics debate increases as the possibility of human cloning is made more known through many known frauds and real experiments.
The concept of “cloning” is creating an organism with the same DNA as another. This means that the natural world has been creating clones for thousands of years. Such examples are identical twins and self-pollinated plants. However, artificially creating clones intentionally by nuclear transfer is, compared to the beginning of natural cloning, a recent human experiment. Although cloning has been extremely successful in this past decade, important concepts and large steps have been taken over the past century.
The first successful cloning attempt was performed by Hans Dreisch in 1894, who cloned a sea urchin by isolating blastomeres. Dreisch separated the urchin embryo when it was two cells large, and both cells matured into adult organisms (“Cloning” pg. 4). This experiment and others disproved Wilhelm Roux and August Weismann’s theory that stated:
“The egg and sperm contribute chromosomes equally to the zygote. The chromosomes are carriers of the hereditary potentials, and the germ cells (gametes) of the embryo are the only ones to carry the complete set of hereditary potentials (nuclear determinants), whereas each somatic (body) cell type contains only part of these potentials required for the specific cell type” (Berardino 2).
By separating the cells of a single developing embryo to create two organisms, Dreisch proved that the somatic cell contains all hereditary information.
The next successful cloning experiment was conducted in 1902 by German Dr. Hans Spemann on salamander embryos, producing twins. Spemann split the embryo using a strand of hair from his newborn son, and the two resulting cells grew into normal adult salamanders. These salamanders were artificially-created identical twins. He repeated his experiments many times, and created mutant creatures. He concluded that in order to create a normal organism, the cloning process...