We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Cloning?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cloning is the asexual production of an exact copy of an original. So for example, one could use cloning to produce the exact copy of a single cell. The cell copy would be identical to the first cell and would have the same exact DNA sequence. In many cases, cloning has been used to reproduce type specific cells. In some instances, cloning of an individual organism, like the sheep, Dolly, has been possible.

Unlike reproduction that involves two “parents,” such as a male and female plants, cloning has a single parent. This is often used in reproducing certain plants. Certain plants have undergone cloning processes for thousands of years, but they do not play a part in the ethical debates that surround cloning of animals, and most particularly humans.

For example, reproductive cloning of animals was first attempted in the 1950s. Most identify the sheep Dolly, cloned in 1996. Dolly’s parent had DNA transferred into an egg that had its nucleus removed. This is called a somatic cell nuclear transfer. The cell was then treated with chemicals and stimulated to grow so than an almost exact replicate of the cloned sheep was born.

In actuality, Dolly was not a precise clone of her parent. She shared the same DNA, but some of the genetic materials of the donor cell also became part of Dolly’s parentage. This is only .01% of Dolly’s DNA, but it does make a negligible difference.

The cloning resulting in Dolly was not exactly simple. In fact it took 277 donor eggs, and the production of 29 embryos before a live birth was achieved. Calf cloning experiments with somatic cell nuclear transfer have prospered less than 1% of the time.

However, the idea of cloning humans still remains. While many people feel that cloning human tissue, as for organs for transplant might be valuable, many others feel that cloning a whole human is unethical. Some scientists without religious affiliation also believe that ethical issues that might be engendered in prolonging life through cloned tissues need further scrutiny.

From a moral standpoint, much has to do with how some reproductive clones are made. Many believe that an embryo, even when simply fertilized sperm and egg is a human and thus should not be destroyed. Experimentation of embryos to produce clones often results in embryo death. Further some feel that cloned embryos might be used specifically to harvest body parts and then killed.

Some further feel that the harvesting of stem cells from an embryo is also wrong, or that creating embryos for the purpose of harvesting stem cells is unethical. Others argue that stem cell research may point the way toward curing diseases for which there is currently no cure. It should be noted, however, that fewer people object to the idea of cloning a body part, than cloning a human.

Others are concerned about the cloning of extinct or endangered animals. In fact Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park dealt with this theme extensively. Especially since actual dinosaur DNA has been found recently, in enough abundance to clone, some scientists are concerned about the environmental impact that could result from reproducing a long dead species.

In some countries, stem cell research has been halted, when it involves cloning human embryos. Other scientists investigate the possibility of finding stem cells elsewhere, as in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. It is suspected that some countries may be attempting to clone a whole human, but have not yet achieved this.

Though cloning is much in the news, it is still an imperfect science with more failures than successes at present. This suggests that scientists may not fully understand all the mechanisms involved in creating an exact copy of another organism. With further research, such mechanisms may be understood and clear the way toward making clones. Yet, doing so is likely to result in continued controversy.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All The Science contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon334014 — On May 09, 2013

Can you help on the ethical issues of PCR?

By anon319282 — On Feb 11, 2013

Great Job. Seems like cloning can be very dangerous.

Would it be possible to clone people who are dead, and possibly bring them life? That could be really bad.

By anon114302 — On Sep 28, 2010

it is so helpful and full of important information.

By anon113673 — On Sep 25, 2010

this article didn't really help. i need to know why cloning is controversial.

By anon64266 — On Feb 06, 2010

nice! i like wise geek. it has helped me for every assignment for the past two years!

By anon33598 — On Jun 09, 2009

This article is well-balanced and detailed to perfection with great knowledge of the subject. It is well detailed and i recommend this article to anyone who needs and idea or an insight into cloning. Very impressed!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All The Science contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.