Animal Cloning In Our World

Categories: AnimalsBiosphere

Cloning may seem like a fantasy, something only seen in science fiction movies. However, cloning has already been done multiple times. According to Brown, “ In the 14 years between 1952 and 1966, the structure of DNA was elucidated, the genetic code cracked, and the processes of transcription and translation described” (4). While humans have not been cloned many animals have. Most clones that have been produced are livestock animals like cattle, swine, sheep, and goats. However, other mammals like mice and rats have also been cloned.

Cloning animals allows farmers to consistently produce animals with desirable qualities. These qualities could be high milk production, good quality meat, or good health. Cloning let’s farmers efficiently improve their herd of animals. Cloning has the potential to benefit agriculture as well as potential medical uses. Cloning has been done successfully but there are many things that need to be improved.

Cloning may have been done successfully but it is not an easy task. “Cloning is a complex process that lets one exactly copy the genetic, or inherited, traits of an animal (the donor)” (“A Primer on Cloning and Its Use in Livestock Operations”, fda.

gov). According to Stephen Nowicki “ A clone is a genetically identical copy of a gene or of an organism” (275). Cloning involves multiple steps that are not guaranteed to succeed. One of the first steps of cloning is obtaining a somatic cell from the animal that is going to be cloned, otherwise known as the donor. This cell provides the DNA of the donor.

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The DNA of the donor is then transferred to an egg cell that has not been fertilized and has had its nucleus removed. There are two ways to transfer the DNA of the donor. The nucleus of the donor’s cell can be transferred by needle to the egg cell or the two cells can be fused together using an electric current. Once the DNA is transferred the egg cell is placed into a test tube. If the egg cell starts dividing it will become an embryo. However, if the egg cell does not start dividing then the attempt at cloning has failed. If the egg develops into an embryo the embryo is transferred to the uterus of a surrogate mother. With the surrogate the embryo is allowed to develop and be born naturally, just like any other offspring. The cloning process may sound simple but it must be performed by trained professionals with the proper equipment and technology.

Being able to clone animals brings many potential benefits to different parts of our world. The most common use of cloning would be to create clones of animals that have desirable qualities. This could be animals with high milk production or animals with good meat. Cloning these animals allows for more consistent production on farms. Cloning can also improve the overall quality of a herd. If the best animals from a herd are cloned then a farmer can have multiple animals with the qualities of those animals. This means good quality animals can be produced efficiently. These clones are then used to sexually reproduce animals that have the desirable qualities. In 2008 the Food and Drug Administration, otherwise known as the FDA, confirmed that products from clones and the offspring of clones are safe to consume. Cloning can also be used to protect species that are in danger of going extinct.

This has been done with the Enderby Island cattle breed in New Zealand. If DNA from the species is saved then a clone can be created using a surviving member of the species or another species that is closely related. A calf named Zebulon was cloned using DNA from its own species and using a closely related species to complete the rest of the cloning process. Since a closely related species can be used to complete the cloning process, extinct animals could potentially be brought back from extinction. If a species is being cloned to avoid extinction multiple DNA samples from different individual animals need to be taken. This avoids inbreeding and allows the species to adapt and change. Cloning also has potential benefits involving health. Cloned animals could be used for testing drugs and medical treatments. Using cloned animals specifically would be useful because “… they are all genetically identical, which means their responses to the drugs should be uniform rather than variable as seen in animals with different genetic makeup” (“Cloning Fact Sheet”, Cloning has many potential uses both in agriculture and in developing medical treatments.

Although cloning may seem like a great process there are many drawbacks to cloning. Cloning is not a cheap process. It requires trained professionals that use special equipment. The high price of cloning makes it less available for use. Cloning is also not guaranteed to work every time. Cloning has a higher rate of birth complications especially in sheep and cattle. Making one clone could take several attempts. Dolly the sheep, possibly the most famous cloned animal, was the 277th attempt at creating a clone from a cell taken from a sheep’s udder. Dolly also only lived six years which is half of the average lifespan of sheep.

Cloned animals may have weaker immune systems and cloned calves and lambs are more likely to develop respiratory issues. Cloned animals also have a higher chance of an increased birth weight and a higher death rate in newborns, especially in calves. Pregnancy losses are more likely to occur when cloning an animal. According to the Smith et al. in Can Vet J the pregnancy loss is thought to be a result of the placenta developing incorrectly “…possibly due to an inappropriate transition from yolk sac to allantoic nutrition” ( 41: 922). Another disadvantage of cloning is that there is no genetic diversity in the offspring. Without genetic diversity animals would have a difficult time adapting to changes in their environment. This would make survival difficult especially for endangered species that have been cloned. Cloning has not been perfected so there are many imperfections that could someday be corrected.

Overall, cloning is a relatively new process that has not been fully explored. There are many potential uses that have yet to be put to use. There are also many worries involving cloning, like the rate of success, the safety of animal products, and the potential use of cloning technology on humans. However, there have been no reports of human cloning, but animal cloning research is still being done in “…Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Iran, Turkey, and the Unied Kingdom” (“All About Animal Cloning”, Animal cloning, however, has been proven to be safe and successful. Animal cloning also has the potential to help farmers create better herds using clones of better animals. Animal cloning will someday change the way medicine and agriculture work in our world.

Works Cited

“All About Animal Cloning.”, Sept. 2010,
Brown, Terry. Gene Cloning and DNA Analysis: an Introduction. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.
“Cloning Fact Sheet.”, 21 Mar. 2017,
Medicine, Center for Veterinary. “A Primer on Cloning and Its Use in Livestock Operations.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA,
Nowicki, Stephen. Holt McDougal Biology. Holt McDougal, 2012.
Smith, Lawrence C., et al. “Benefits and Problems with Cloning Animals.” Can Vet J, vol. 41, Dec. 2000, pp. 919–924. 

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Animal Cloning In Our World. (2022, May 26). Retrieved from

Animal Cloning In Our World
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