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Scientific and Medical of Aspects: Human Reproductive Cloning
to refer to individuals that have identical nuclear DNA but different mitochondrial DNA.
HOW IS REPRODUCTIVE CLONING DONE?
Two methods are used to make live-born mammalian clones. Both require implantation of an embryo in a uterus and then a normal period of gestation and birth. However, reproductive human or animal cloning is not defined by the method used to derive the genetically identical embryos suitable for implantation. Techniques not yet developed or described here would nonetheless constitute cloning if they resulted in genetically identical individuals of which at least one were an embryo destined for implantation and birth.
The two methods used for reproductive cloning thus far are as follows:
• Cloning using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) . This procedure starts with the removal of the chromosomes from an egg to create an enucleated egg. The chromosomes are replaced with a nucleus taken from a somatic (body) cell of the individual or embryo to be cloned. This cell could be obtained directly from the individual, from cells grown in culture, or from frozen tissue. The egg is then stimulated, and in some cases it starts to divide. If that happens, a series of sequential cell divisions leads to the formation of a blastocyst, or preimplantation embryo. The blastocyst is then transferred to the uterus of an animal. The successful implantation of the blastocyst in a uterus can result in its further development, culminating sometimes in the birth of an animal. This animal will be a clone of the individual that was the donor of the nucleus. Its nuclear DNA has been inherited from only one genetic parent.
The number of times that a given individual can be cloned is limited theoretically only by the number of eggs that can be obtained to accept the somatic cell nuclei and the number of females available to receive developing embryos. If the egg used in this procedure is derived from the same individual that donates the transferred somatic nucleus, the result will be an embryo that receives all its genetic material—nuclear and mitochondrial—from a single individual. That will also be true if the egg comes from the nucleus donor’s mother, because mitochondria are inherited maternally. Multiple clones might also be produced by transferring identical nuclei to eggs from a single donor. If the somatic cell nucleus and the egg come from different individuals, they will not be identical to the nuclear donor because the clones will have somewhat different mitochondrial genes [2; 3]
• Cloning by embryo splitting. This procedure begins with in vitro fertilization (IVF): the union outside the woman’s body of a sperm and an