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Who would have thought that a Scottish sheep named Dolly could cause an international uproar But she has and its all because of her unorthodox beginnings Dolly is not an ordinary sheep produced through the mating of a ewe and a ram She is a clone an exact genetic replica of her donor mother a six-year-old female sheep And that fact together with another recent announcement that scientists in Oregon have cloned monkeys from embryonic cells has triggered debates among researchers ethicists and politicians all over the world The ethical controversy over any future experiments that involve the cloning of human beings -- which has NOT occurred -- is likely to dominate news coverage of the subject for months to come Why Dolly is so special It is also important to understand some of the key questions that Dolly raises WHAT IS A CLONE The noun clone and the verb to clone are not used consistently In biology a clone is a cell or an organism that is genetically identical to another cell or organism Many simple organisms such as bacteria reproduce themselves by copying their DNA and splitting in half The two bacteria that result from this form of asexual reproduction are genetically identical they are clones of each other In contrast during the process of sexual reproduction the nucleus of a sperm cell which carries the fathers DNA fuses with the nucleus of the egg cell which contains the mothers DNA The resulting offspring carry genetic material from both parents and are not identical to either parent The verb to clone refers to the process of creating cloned cells or organisms The process differs depending on the kinds of cells used in the cloning procedure and the desired result Usually when scientists clone an animal they take the nucleus of a cell -- which contains chromosomes made of deoxyribonucleic acid DNA and proteins -- and place it
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