Therapeutic Cloning vs Reproductive Cloning
Cloning was first thought to be making identical copies of a whole human or an animal. But the definition has changed over the time and got broadened with the numerous new findings made in the field of biotechnology. Cloning today is identified as making multiple identical copies of an organism, a type of cell, or even a particular DNA sequence or an amino acid sequence. Therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning both share a very similar process, but the end results are different. The ethical application of both is still questioned.
Therapeutic cloning as the name implies is used for therapeutic purposes. This type of cloning is a vital part of medicinal research. This cloning could be used to generate an organ, or develop damaged tissues. Therapeutic cloning uses the process ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer’ where an egg is taken and its nucleus is removed and another nucleus taken from the type of tissue we desire to develop is inserted instead of the egg’s nucleus and allowed to grow and produce “stem cells”. Although this process is questioned ethically and religiously, there are many benefits. The technology could be used to re-grow damaged body parts, to overcome tissue and organ shortages, and to reduce the need of immunosuppressive drugs used in organ transplant to reduce rejection. Therapeutic cloning holds a promising future for people suffering from diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and strokes. The studies are also focused on cloning and producing nerve tissue in order to treat brain damage incidents.
Reproductive cloning is the cloning technology used to produce a complete and identical copy of an organism. This was the first attempt done in cloning history. In 1996 Scottish researchers cloned a sheep that was made famous by the name “Dolly”. This has been challenged by religions around the globe as a threat against “God’s will” and an act against nature. The process used is somatic cell nuclear transfer but the difference is instead of producing stem cells this allows the embryo to grow in to a baby; another complete organism by introducing it in to gestational surrogate. The process has inspired a new era of biotechnology and has given more than enough subjects to Sci-fi creativity and imagination. On the disadvantages side, a major concern is its potential of decreasing the genetic diversity which is essential in natural evolution of species. Studies have also shown that cloned organisms have a shorter lifespan showing this artificial life is not as perfect as a naturally born. Human cloning is still prohibited due to the ethical concerns and rising question of identity and individuality.
What is the difference between Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Cloning?
• Therapeutic cloning does not produce a whole new copy of an organism but a copy of a part of an organism mainly an organ or tissue. But reproductive cloning produces a whole new copy of an organism.
• Therapeutic cloning is used for medical treatment purposes, and reproductive cloning is used for reproductive purposes.