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About Reproductive Cloning

Reproductive cloning is the production of a genetic duplicate of an existing organism. A human clone would be a genetic copy of an existing person.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is the most common cloning technique. SCNT involves putting the nucleus of a body cell into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. This produces a clonal embryo, which is triggered to begin developing with chemicals or electricity. Placing this cloned embryo into the uterus of a female animal and bringing it to term creates a clone, with genes identical to those of the animal from which the original body cell was taken.

The Basic Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Arguments Pro & Con

More than eighteen cloned mammals have been produced with SCNT, but claims by rogue scientists to have cloned a human child have been false.

New techniques, such as the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells via cellular reprogramming, suggest other potential methods of reproductive cloning.

Human reproductive cloning is almost universally opposed. Overwhelming majorities reject it in opinion surveys. Many international agreements and countries (though not the United States) formally prohibit it.

Some oppose reproductive cloning because of safety considerations. Animal cloning is seldom successful, and many scientists believe that reproductive cloning can never be made safe. Human reproductive cloning would also threaten the psychological well-being of cloned children, open the door to more powerful genetic manipulation technologies, and raise other social and ethical concerns.

E.U. parliament votes to ban cloning of farm animalsby Gretchen VogelScienceSeptember 8th, 2015The ban does not cover cloning for research purposes, nor does it prevent efforts to clone endangered species.
It's Time for an Uncomfortable Discussion about What it Really Means to Engineer a 'Better Baby'[Australia] by Kevin LoriaBusiness Insider [Australia]August 13th, 2015“Humans have more flaws than we know what to do with ... One of them is that we don’t know what it would mean to make a better baby.”
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDAby Rachel SmolkerTruthoutJune 22nd, 2015The regulations of the US Department of Agriculture are in desperate need of an overhaul if they are to protect the public from the derailing of billions of years of evolution for the purpose of corporate profit-making.
Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future, we should rule out considering what we might learn from works of literature and film, as well as those aspects of myth, policy and history they don’t like.
Babies from Two Bio-Dads?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2015Recent research on human germ cells has revived speculation about the possible uses of artificial gametes.
'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Sayby James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 18th, 2015New gene editing techniques make "designer babies" more feasible, but that does not mean it's inevitably the way we have to go as a society.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2014by Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2014In 2014, CGS staffers and contributors posted 107 blogs in Biopolitical Times. These are twelve of our favorites.
For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dogby Josh DeanBloomberg BusinessweekOctober 22nd, 2014Dr. Hwang Woo Suk, infamous for fabricating claims about cloning a human embryo, now uses somatic cell nuclear transfer to clone people's dogs.
Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic—And Scientists Hope to Bring Them Backby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicAugust 31st, 2014The 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, last of her kind, finds biologists dreaming of preventing or reversing extinctions.
The Genome's Big Data Problemby Joseph CoxMother BoardJune 4th, 2014Serious concerns around genetic data need to be handled before we all jump on the genome band wagon. How will the data be stored? Who will be able to access it? What security will be in place?
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