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Clones are Cool

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJuly 12, 2006 6:16 PM


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Ask a Science Blogger ?:

On July 5, 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first successfully cloned mammal. Ten years on, has cloning developed the way you expected it to?...

Well, I waited this week to see if someone would say what I would say to save me the trouble of responding. Dynamic of the Cats hit it about right. Also, the talk about stem cells in some of the comments is really pointing to where the action is going to be. Myself, I am very pro-stem cell (hell, aren't we all? Either adult or fetal?), and for a particular reason that is very anti-clonal. Today, mixed-race individuals have a difficult time finding tissue matches in the instances where they need transplants. The reason is that their immune profiles are very unique. Though two populations may exhibit overlap in the frequencies of alleles, the overall structure of the frequencies across the loci may differ a great deal, so when you "mix" them to together they may result in a very novel and unique individual. In the case of a "super plague" which expands and flourishes at a rate proportional to infectable hosts, this is a good. But, in the case of organ transplants, this is bad. Cloning oneself on the level of the organ can of course obviate this problem, solving the problem of genetic diversity with genetic uniformity.

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