Ramik Bars, how do they work

How does cloning work?

The term "cloning" comes from the ancient Greek word for "sprout" or "branch". Cloning of a plant or animal creates a descendant that has exactly the same genetic make-up.

However, this method of reproduction was not invented by humans: bacteria that reproduce through cell division are natural clones - and identical twins as well. Even if you plant cuttings in the garden, you basically clone.

Cloning in the laboratory

In a narrower sense, cloning usually means the artificial creation of an organism or essential parts of it.

There are two conceivable methods of cloning living beings in the laboratory: therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Both processes start the same: You take a cell from the organism to be cloned and isolate its nucleus and thus practically all of the genetic information. This nucleus is then inserted into an unfertilized egg cell whose nucleus has been removed beforehand.

The cell is stimulated to divide by an electric shock or in a chemical bath. Due to the new genetic information, it then develops into something completely different from what it would otherwise have done.

Therapeutic cloning

In therapeutic cloning, the embryo that forms is destroyed after a few cycles of division, if it only consists of a few cells. The individual cells - the stem cells - are the starting material from which organs or tissues can be grown. Because these stem cells are not yet biologically calibrated for certain functions.

According to the scientists, one could, for example, breed a kidney in the future and would not have to fear that it will be rejected by the body. Because it would have the same genetic code as its recipient. Diabetes or Parkinson's should also be cured with this method at some point.

However, opponents of the method point out that an embryo must be killed for this. In addition, there is a risk that cancerous ulcers will easily form in the cultured organs, since it is in the nature of stem cells to easily degenerate and proliferate.

Whole living beings are created during reproductive cloning - like Dolly, the clone sheep

Reproductive cloning means that a living being is born from the egg cell with the new cell nucleus. An embryo is created in the test tube, which is later implanted in a surrogate mother and carried to term by her.

Researchers have already cloned many animals this way. Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be created in this way.

Even if cloning appears technically very simple, in practice it is quite complicated. The error rate is very high: only a few parts per thousand to one percent of the egg cells produced in this way develop into healthy embryos, which are ultimately born.