GENETIC RESEARCH/CLONING

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HISTORY OF GENETICS

In my novel “Dimension Lapse”, Akros(AKA Dr. Louis Avery) clones himself along with simian DNA and alien DNA in an attempt to repair his diseased genes with new ones. The result is an abomination, and his altered state causes him to become something other than human. But is animal cross breeding really possible, and would it actually cure a disease that is harmful to humans?
This week on my blog, I will be exploring this forgotten field in science. To most people the field of genetics, hereditary, and cloning is rather boring, but it has been explored in the sci-fi genre(Think Logan’s Run, Oblivion, and Ssss).
Today we discuss how the whole process of this field began. It started with Charles Darwin’s theory in 1859, that all creatures on this planet had a start somewhere, and evolved from other animals.
We of course, had evolved from our prehistoric ancestors such as Neanderthal and Cromagnon man. I do not believe the popular ancient astronaut theory that we are descendants from the Anoci, to me this sounds rather absurd. If this were true, then why aren’t they still around using us for their own purposes?
The father of genetic was Gregor Johann Mendel, an Augustinian friar who first experimented on pea plants in 1866. By the the 1940’s and 50’s, scientists discovered that DNA was the portion of chromosomes that held the genes, which led to the development of the
genetic code arrangement in the 60’s. By the 70’s, genetic engineering came into being, and by the year 2000, the total mapping of the human gene was completed through the Human Genome Project.
After that, cloning changed the whole field in ways we could only imagine.
But should we have the power to play God when it comes to creating life? Tomorrow we will explore how genetic engineering and selective breeding has helped and hurt mankind. Here are the links which pertain to today’s topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_genetics
http://www.pbs.org/inthebalance/archives/ourgenes/could_we.html
http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEPC/WWC/1994/geneticstln.php

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ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SELECTIVE BREEDING AND BIOENGINEERING

Selective breeding is nothing new. It has been around even before we knew what it was. Certain plants and vegetables were crossbred to create new ones. Breeds of dogs formed from one lone animal-the wolf. Cromagnons bred with Neanderthals to make us. Certain ancient tribes would only allow marriages between members of the same tribe, as not to contaminate the tribe from outsiders. But when did man start to deliberately alter certain genes to create new ones, or breed specific genes for another desired result?
As we have already seen, Mendel was the first in this area to alter pea plants,and other later worked with tomatoes, grapefruit, and any other fruit or vegetable you can imagine. Later, in the 1980’s we saw genetically altered meat, injected with hormones to produce more meat and less fat. Then we saw the Beefallo! And who can forget Dolly, the first completely clone sheep, who health has slowly deteriorated over the years from the effects.
Selective breeding and genetic engineering has helped us in other areas as well, especially in medicine, where pig valves have been used in place of human ones, and in the area of disease, where certain genes have been found to be cause hereditary diseases. Antiviral genes can be implanted to help cure people from them. Cloning may one day make surgery a routine thing, like changing your brakes on your car. You just go in and get whatever organ you need.
There is also a dark side to this research. First of all, ethical questions on should we clone a person or not. Cloning organs in one thing, but should we clone a whole human? I remember the song “In the Year 2525” where they talk about picking sons and daughters from the bottom of a long glass tube. Would you like to be cloned, or do you think this is unethical? To an aging, dying man it might seem like a second chance, if he could only place his memories inside a new young body. Sound like science fiction, think again! There is already an American scientist trying to do just that.
Then, of course there were the Nazi scientists during World War II, who tried genetic experiments with hundreds of people, and tortured and killed thousands with their supreme race “experiment”.
They believed they needed to pure like their Aryan race that they believed they came from. This of course was just an excuse to condone what they were doing.
I, myself, believe that cloning may have advantages as far as medicine goes-as long as they don’t push the envelope. In my opinion, it is unethical to play God, and if one does, they will suffer the consequences. Cloning humans is wrong, and maybe even growing organs is wrong. Fate is what it is sometimes. Look what it did to Akros in my novel. On the other hand, maybe one day we will see a destruction of our race, and there may only be one clone to save us…..
Join me tomorrow and I will discuss some of these challenges and how we will deal them, and what the future of genetic engineering may be. Until then, here are today’s links:

http://www.biology-online.org/2/13_genetic_engineering.htm
http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/pecorino.html
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/01/0103_020103TVclonedpig.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_(sheep)

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THE FUTURE OF GENETIC ENGINEERING AND CLONING

Today we’ll discuss what’s in the future for genetic engineering and cloning. Well, for starters, scientists predict that they will be able to clone an entire person within the decade. Soon, you will be able to meet your clone, who will be completely identical to you-or maybe not. Dolly the sheep only lived half of a normal sheep’s lifetime. No one knows what a human may end up looking like.
There is the medical side, where organs will be cloned along with tissue cells. There is remarkable work being done in this field using reptile DNA, enabling humans to be able to grow back their own living tissue to amputated limbs, and spider DNA blended with goat DNA to form milk that can be spun into the strongest fibers on earth.
These are forms of research that can be beneficial to mankind.
Cloning will be another story. Many people raise the question of ethics in cloning. If people are cloned, does that mean they have rights, or are they just biological farms that we rip parts from when we need them? And if we have clones, what are they to us?
Brothers and sisters, twins, or something completely different?
In my book, Balta is one of the many Tolarion clones. He is the prototype, the beginning gene that created the others, but his race is not an exact copy of him. He has a slight edge over the others, but Akros did not immediately perfect the cloning process until after he was created. This will be the case for us. If cloning is ever allowed, there will be many mistakes and failures in this field. Does the termination of a clone justify murder? We have a problem with this question in abortion, do we really need to complicate things by making more of us? The world has enough problems! Until Monday, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. I will start a new series on Monday. Until then, here are today’s links:

http://futurehumanevolution.com/genetic_engineering_human_cloning
http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=259
http://www.discoveriesinmedicine.com/Enz-Ho/Genetic-Engineering.html
http://ethics.missouri.edu/gene-therapy.aspx

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SCIENCE FICTION AND SCIENCE REALITY

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