Basketball practice, cruising the mall, homework, your favorite show, piano lessons, how are you going to fit it all in? Clone yourself! One of you could hit the mall, the other could hit the books. Of course, you would have to wait about 15 years for your clone to grow up. Hmm…maybe that won't work out.

Of course this example is unrealistic, but the technology does exist to clone a person. Cloning is a process that uses the tools of biotechnology to replicate (copy) a single strand of DNA, a single type of cell, or the entire nucleus of a cell. (The cloning of a nucleus was the process that led to the creation of the famous sheep Dolly.)

When it comes to cloning animals, scientists say there are distinct advantages. Cloning provides the opportunity to save endangered species from extinction, or to bring back species that are already extinct. Cloning animals also provides many medical opportunities. Large herds of genetically identical animals could produce human medicines in their milk (pharming); they could be engineered to produce organs for transplant (xenotransplantation); or, they could be used to research diseases that affect humans.

Opponents of the technology say cloning leads us down a road full of risks, inevitably leading to the temptation of cloning humans. Other objections to cloning include the danger of reducing biodiversity. Genetically identical species share the same strengths and weaknesses and could all be wiped out by a single disease. Federally funded research on cloning humans is currently banned in the U.S., most of Europe, and Japan. But there is nothing to stop someone from trying to clone people.


Explore More: Genetic Engineering
Copyright 2004, Iowa Public Television
The Explore More project is supported by funds from the
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
and the USDE Star Schools Program.


UK Cloning Controversy
It's a brave new world in Britain, the first country in the world to legalize limited cloning of human embryos. More

Meet the Mammal that Made History
Dolly the sheep was the first successfully cloned mammal in history.Dolly the sheep has arthritis. Is it because of the cloning procedure? More

The Age of Clones
Do clones age more quickly than "natural" organisms? Researchers are looking into it. More

The first pet was cloned. CopyCat is a genetic clone of her "mother," Rainbow. More

PBS Newshour Online Links

Should Congress ban cloning?

Me, Myself and I

Human reproductive cloning

Moral and ethical questions of cloning

Cloning seen from '97 old