Thursday, November 24, 2016

Why Clone Sheep — Don’t They All Look Alike Anyway?

20 years ago the first sheep was cloned. Dolly the sheep. Many wonder why clone sheep? 20 years ago scientist didn't just want to clone sheep to make a copy of some type of animal. As said in the article "Why Clone Sheep — Don’t They All Look Alike Anyway?", scientist goal was to create a transgenic animal. The purpose to create transgenic animals was so that they could ne used to make stem cells or different proteins so that they could find cures for diseases. The first thing they sought in curing was diabetes's. I think this is a good reason for cloning because if it can find a way to cure human diseases that is beneficial.

After questioning why clone sheep? people wondered how you could tell them apart or what the difference is, and what they do to clone them? Sheep are actually not very difficult to tell apart according to doctor Kevin Sinclair from The University of Nottingham in Britain. He compared telling sheep apart like telling dogs apart. He used the example of telling a difference between a beagle and a chocolate lab. Although, when looking at a bunch of the same breed together that's when It gets more tricky to tell them apart. The way that Dr. Sinclair told them apart was through their personalities. He mentioned that some sheep would act like the moms of the herd. An actual method they use to identify a cloned sheep or anything cloned in a group is by drawing "blood from all the animals, isolate the DNA from the nuclei of the white blood cells and then start comparing them with each other". In order for this method to work there has to be more then one clone in a group, if there is only one you will not be able to tell the difference. Like twins clones share the same nuclear DNA, therefore looking at just the DNA is not enough. One has to look deeper in the cell such as the mitochondria and the energy control centers. Cloning is very interesting and only seems to be getting bigger and something scientist are doing more often.


  1. It has always blown my mind that we were able to clone a whole sheep. And the entire transgenic animal part is even more fascinating to me because, yes, I get we are surrounded by GMO's but that same biotechnology can be applied to animals as well. Because I was always so hung up on the fact that we were even able to clone, I never questioned why a sheep. I believe it is clever that Dr. Sinclair plays on animal behavior to distinguish the cloned sheep from the rest. Nothing beats looking on a molecular level though. I too am excited about future clonings and what they mean for figuring out diseases. But I also would like to have fun with it. Lets just clone a whale or cheetah or butterfly for the heck of it. Science!

  2. Just the fact that we are able to successfully clone an organism is exciting yet scary at the same time. According to the article, cloning sheep will have a huge benefit on producing healthy stem cells and furthering research on certain diseases. If cloning will help us in the fight against these diseases, I am all for it because I think that it is smart, harmless, and educational. However, with further research, just think of how cloning will improve in the future as we become more knowledgeable and test other organisms. The idea scares me a bit but I am also so intrigued to see just how beneficial cloning can truly be.