Playing with the laws of nature

Remember Dolly, the first world’s first cloned sheep? She was born July 5, 1996, from

Dolly the cloned sheep

a cell taken from the mammary gland of a female sheep. Dolly had three mothers-one provided the egg, one provided the DNA, and one carried the embryo to term. She died from a progressive lung disease on Feb. 14, 2003.

She was cloned by researchers Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell in Scotland.

According to Wikipedia, Wilmut stated that the sheep was named after Dolly Parton because, “Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s.”

The reason for this history lesson is because I came across a story on Yahoo News about rhesus monkeys that were born recently using mixed embryos:

rhesus monkey (dailymail.co.uk)

“US researchers said Thursday they have created the world’s first mixed-embryo monkeys by merging cells from up to six different embryos, in what could be a big advance for medical research.”

Flashback to 1996 when the idea of cloning became a reality. Many people were happy to see science advancing at the rate it was, but they became fearful that scientists would soon be cloning people. Many people began to wonder if scientists were trying to play God. What would stop people from trying to create their own master race?

While the idea that research in cloning could teach scientists more about how to eradicate genetic diseases and birth defects were attractive to most people,  some  thought it was wrong to mess with the laws of nature and tried to put a stop to certain research pertaining to cloning. Stem cell research also took a toll, with researchers being accused of aborting babies just for their stem cells.

So what does this new breakthrough really mean for science?

According to the author of the article, “The experiment produced three healthy male rhesus monkeys they named Roku, Hex and Chimero, with gene traits from all of the separate embryos used to meld them.”

“The cells never fuse, but they stay together and work together to form tissues and organs,” said lead researcher Shoukrhat Mitalipov. “The possibilities for science are enormous.”

People are already living longer than they ever have and researchers are coming up with better treatments and procedures to cure people of certain cancers. This is awesome news, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe trying to keep people alive will have certain repercussions that we haven’t anticipated, such as over-population.

Man (and woman) has been trying to come up with a cure for cancer, as well as the common cold, for as long as humans have walked the Earth.

I believe scientists are getting closer, but what will happen when we get there?

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