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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.



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?
Orphan Black: The Best Show You’ve Never Seenby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2014A BBC America television series about clones is seriously good.
Renewed Concerns For Women As Cloning Technology Advances[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FarrellForbesMay 23rd, 2014The recent cloning breakthroughs highlight a lack of engagement with the issue from the bioethical perspective.
Free Dolly!by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2014The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that cloned animals cannot be patented.
Dolly the Sheep’s Clones Deemed Unpatentable by U.S. Courtby Susan DeckerBloombergMay 8th, 2014The Scottish scientists famous for concocting Dolly the sheep lost a bid to get U.S. patent protection for the cloned animal. A court said their creations are just genetic copies of naturally occurring beings.
Stem Cell Revival: The 1990s are BackNew ScientistApril 30th, 2014More than 17 years later, what worked in Dolly the sheep finally appears to be working in humans. But after endless hope, hype and failure, it is hard to feel there is anything brave or new in this line of research.
Neanderthals Are People, Tooby Svante PaaboThe New York TimesApril 24th, 2014Ancient genomes show that the Neanderthals were genetically very similar to us. In a civilized society, we would never create a human being in order to satisfy scientific curiosity; why would it be different for a Neanderthal?
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