April 1, 2001
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Today’s Cloning topic is accompanied by the following games:
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Clones are organisms that are genetically identical. Most clones are single-cell bacteria or
protozoa that reproduce by making exact copies of themselves. But these are not the clones that
are making headlines in Washington D.C. and around the world. What does it mean to clone an
animal such as a sheep, a pig or a human being? Should we care? The answer is an emphatic
“Yes!” Learn more about the complexity of the scientific and moral issues surrounding cloning at
these five sites.
In order to understand cloning and how a cloned animal differs from one with two genetic
parents, you need to have a basic understanding of genetics. This BrainPOP movie is a good place
to start. After viewing the short animation, take the quiz (“Which cells in your body contain
DNA?”) and try the printable activities.
“Besides pigs and sheep, scientists have also cloned other animals, including cows and mice. A
number of scientists said they believed it was only a matter of time before human cloning would
become a reality. However, this prospect raised ethical concerns among many people.” World
Book presents an introduction to cloning and its history, leading to a summary of the arguments
used both for and against human cloning.
I Can Do That
The title refers not to do-it-yourself cloning (thank goodness!), but rather to the understanding
of complicated scientific concepts. Created specially for the upper elementary and middle-school
crowd, I Can Do That explains DNA, cells, and synthesis with a cartoon-like approach. “There are
a lot of us Genes here, so it can get pretty confusing. We are kinda the brains behind the whole
operation. And not just the nucleus, but the entire cell and even the entire body. Each of us Genes
has only one job to do. That’s to remember exactly how to construct a single protein.”
Slouching Towards Creation:
Peering into the Face of Cloning
“What does it mean? How did they do it? Who will use the technology? Should we clone just
because we can?” Based on these four questions, Time Online presents a glossy multimedia look
at cloning and its implications. “When Dr. Ian Wilmut and his team from the Roslin Institute
created a lamb named Dolly, they accomplished what many experts thought was a scientific
impossibility. Unlike offspring produced in the usual fashion, Dolly does not merely take after her
biological mother. She is a carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit so exact that she is in essence her
mother’s identical twin.”
Time.com: The Genetics Revolution
“The immediate response to the cloned sheep Dolly’s birth was a revulsion against the idea of
using the same technique to clone human beings. Some nineteen countries immediately banned the
practice; the U.S. so far has not.” From the online archives of Time.com, comes this collection of
articles on topics related to cloning such as the Human Genome Project and Plant & Animal
Applications of Cloning. One of the best pages is the clickable time line which traces the history of
the Genetics Revolution starting with the 1953 discovery of DNA.
Copyright © 2001 Barbara J.
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