Clone (Magill Book Reviews)
Gina Kolata, science journalist for THE NEW YORK TIMES, broke the initial story about the cloning of a sheep named Dolly. On the scene in the Scottish hamlet where embryologist Ian Wilmut had performed this extraordinary feat, Kolata reported extensively on Dolly for her newspaper. CLONE: THE ROAD TO DOLLY AND THE PATH AHEAD presents an extended account of this event along with a truncated history of embryology and an overview of the many fraudulent claims made in the past about cloning.
The thought that immediately leaped into people’s minds with the cloning of Dolly was that science was now only a short step from cloning human beings. The religious, philosophical, bioethical, and economic dilemmas that such a possibility posed resulted in heated debate about cloning, a debate heightened by physicist Richard Seed’s attempt to secure private funding to clone a human being, threatening if he could not do so in the United States to go to another country more hospitable to his project.
In Washington, the Federal Food and Drug Administration asserted its authority over human cloning. Congress moved toward enacting legislation to ban it. President Bill Clinton declared himself a staunch opponent of this seemingly unnatural process. For many people, Huxley’s brave new world had suddenly arrived, replete with all its frightening implications.
Kolata’s book is readable and easily understood by people lacking a background in...
(The entire section is 340 words.)
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Clone (Magill's Literary Annual 1991-2005)
In the December, 1984, issue of Science, James McGrath and Davor Solter, well-recognized scientists, wrote, “The cloning of mammals, by simple nuclear transfer, is biologically impossible.” On July 5, 1996, around 5:00 in the evening in the hamlet of Roslin, Scotland, a few miles south of Edinburgh, the birth of Dolly disproved this prognostication. Dolly, a sheep cloned by taking cells from the udder of a donor sheep, growing them in a petri dish, inserting them into a sheep’s egg from which the nucleus had been extracted, and implanting them in a host sheep, was a living reality.
This feat was accomplished by embryologist Ian Wilmut, who worked for more than a decade on the research project that eventuated in Dolly. Bent over a microscope for long hours in a cubicle heated to the exact internal temperature of a sheep, Wilmut, sponsored by PPL Therapeutics, Limited, was hired to develop designer animals as a source of pharmaceuticals for human use. He sought ways to create genetic defects in animals that could be studied to find ways of dealing with comparable defects in humans. He sought means through genetic manipulation of causing animals to produce antibodies that, permeating their milk, could be used to attack diseases. The drugs resulting from these antibodies could be extracted and sold by PPL.
News of Dolly’s birth was withheld from the public until February, 1997, because PPL had patents pending to protect Wilmut’s...
(The entire section is 1890 words.)