Cloning was long thought to be just a flight of fancy in the imaginations of science fiction writers until cloned animals started showing up. Everyone knows the story of Dolly the sheep but she was just the start of animal cloning. Animal clones include creatures from mice to horses and wolves. Aside from creating more animals, cloning has uses that apply to medicine and commercial endeavors.
For example, the plot of sci-fi movies came to life when companies began cloning pets, including cats. However, the most important applications seem to be in the field of medicine and especially with stem cell research. In what is called "therapeutic cloning," stem cells are grown that scientists then insert into organ systems to regenerate them. Ideally, since the cells come from the person who would be using the stem cells, the risk of the body rejecting them is low. For now, the practice seems like it will only exist on the theoretical level since human embryos would be needed, but in the end it all started with Dolly, a wooly sheep.
The First Cloned Animal Was Actually A Sea Urchin - Cloned In 1885!
Yes, cloning actually began over a century ago. The first cloned animal was not the famous Dolly the sheep, but a sea urchin that was successfully cloned in 1885. The clone actually came about by accident when a scientist split apart the cell of a sea urchin. The hypotheses was that each half of the cell contained about half the genetic information of a sea urchin, and scientists expected to end up with two separate halves of a sea urchin. Imagine their surprise when both cells formed full bodied urchins.
Dolly Was The Most Famous Clone, But Not The First
Perhaps the most famous sheep of all time, Dolly caught the public's imagination in 1996 when she was born in Scotland. Dolly was the first ever mammal cloned by using a cell from another adult. This was especially important because scientists doubted that it was even possible to do that. Her name even reflects the unique way she was created, the cells the sheep was cloned from came from a mammary gland, so naturally she is named after Dolly Parton. However, Dolly wasn't the first sheep cloned. There was a sheep clone born in the 1980s named Morg, however it was created using embryonic cells. Dolly lived out her days at the Roslyn Institute where she was born until her death in 2003.
Say Aloha To Cumulina The Cloned Mouse From Hawaii
Mice have long been the subject of scientific experiments and when it came to cloning, things weren't much different. In 1997, hot on the hooves of the announcement of the successful cloning of Dolly, Dr. Ryuzo Yanagimachi and his researchers from the University of Hawai'i cloned a mouse. What made this scientific achievement different was that they changed how the creature was cloned. Essentially, the scientists took out the genetic material from the egg of one mouse, and inserted new genetic material from the mouse they were cloning. According to the scientists, this was a better way to clone creatures. They named their mouse Cumulina, but didn't stop with her. She was merely the first mouse using the process to be born of 50 eventual clones.
The First Cloned Fish Emerged In 1963
It turns out that cloning has been around for a while. In 1963, scientists in China led by Dr. Tong Dizhou cloned a fish, a carp in fact. It was the most complex organism that had been cloned to that point and showed that the technique was a viable practice. However, his discovery stayed in China because it was not published in Western journals.