Reproductive Cloning – Produces copies of whole animals
In reproductive cloning, researchers remove a mature somatic cell, such as a skin cell or an udder cell, from an animal that they wish to copy. A somatic cell is any cell in the body other than the two types of reproductive cells, sperm and egg. Sperm and egg are also called germ cells. In mammals, every somatic cell has two complete sets of chromosomes, whereas the germ cells only have one complete set.
They then transfer the DNA of the donor animal’s somatic cell into an egg cell, or oocyte, that has had its own DNA-containing nucleus removed.
Researchers can add the DNA from the somatic cell to the empty egg in two different ways. In the first method, they remove the DNA-containing nucleus of the somatic cell and inject it into the empty egg. In the second approach, they use an electrical current to fuse the entire somatic cell with the empty egg.
In both processes, the egg is allowed to develop into an early-stage embryo in the test-tube and then is implanted into the womb of an adult female animal. Ultimately, the adult female gives birth to an animal that has the same genetic make-up as the animal that donated the somatic cell. This young animal is referred to as a clone. Reproductive cloning may require the use of a surrogate mother to allow development of the cloned embryo, as was the case for the most famous cloned organism, Dolly the sheep.
Some of the animals that have been cloned are:-
- Rhesus monkey