Stem Cells and Cloning

Therapeutic Cloning

Full organs can be grown using stem cells, which can be used in to provide patients with organ transplants.

In therapeutic cloning, a cloned embryo is created to produce embryonic stem cells. These stem cells will grow into an organ that the patient’s body will not reject. This is because the embryo, and therefore the organ, will have the same DNA as the patient being provided with the organ.

Stem cells can also be injected into patients. This technique may be useful to treat conditions such as diabetes and paralysis. The stem cells divide to form differentiated replacement cells, which repair the damaged tissue.

Evaluating Therapeutic Cloning

Advantages of therapeutic cloning

  • Could eliminate long waiting times
  • Organs and cells are not rejected by the patient
  • Could lead to organ regeneration

Disadvantages of therapeutic cloning

  • Risk of transferring a viral infection
  • Ethical/religious objections
  • Once injected, if the stem cells do not respond to the natural chemicals in the body and continue to reproduce, the treatment may lead to cancer.

The Use of Meristem cells

Meristems are regions of undifferentiated cells typically found near the tips of stems and roots. These cells are capable of division and growth. Meristem tissue cuttings can be used to produce clones of plants quickly and economically. This means that rare or endangered species of plants can be cloned, which will help to preserve the species of plant.

Farmers can also use meristem cells to clone plants with special features, such as disease resistance. By cloning plants, large numbers of genetically identical plants can be produced.