Twenty years ago, scientists said that cloning was completely impossible. But now, the science of cloning has come to realization. Imagine meeting an exact replica of somebody. They look alike, think alike, and even have the same genetic makeup. No, this isn't an episode of Star Trek, this is reality.

This is the new world of cloning, and thanks to a 7-month-old sheep named Dolly, a new science has been born. As with every new science, there are those who believe in it, and those who oppose it. The new technology of cloning should be utilized because it could bring back extinct organisms, help infertile couples to have children, and potentially save many lives. Cloning could bring back extinct animals.

Over millions of years, thousands of different species have gone extinct. Most were due to "natural selection", while several others were due to human intervention. According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, 1997, "nearly two-thirds of all the native bird species and one-tenth of the native plants originally found on the Hawaiian Islands have gone extinct recently. Most of these losses have been of species unique to the Hawaiian archipelago. Predators, competitors, or diseases introduced by humans from continental areas are responsible for many of the extinctions. Many remaining species on oceanic islands are threatened or endangered".

With cloning, many of the animal species, and potentially several of the plant species could be brought back to life. Even though there is currently no technique for bringing the plants back, with technology advancing so quickly, we could have a solution quite soon. Cloning, though now limited to an! i mal subjects, potentially has significant human applications. Cloning will help a couple who would normally be unable to have children because one of them was infertile In the case of an infertile father, scientists take an egg from the mother, remove its nucleus, then take a cell from the father, remove its nucleus, and place the nucleus inside the empty egg. That cell now acts as a reproductive cell.

They then put the egg in the mothers' womb, and wait for results. Unfortunately, this method has a very low success rate. According to Gina Kolkata of the New York Times, February 23, 1997, in the experiments with the sheep, 277 cells were attempted. Twenty-nine of those developed into embryos. When those cells were transferred to the female sheep, only thirteen became pregnant. Of those thirteen, only one carried the pregnancy to full term and delivered a live lamb.

However, with the ever-progressing technology, scientists will be able to achieve higher success rates. The power of cloning can not only be used to create life, it! can also be used to save it. Cloning has many medical benefits that could be utilized. It could be used to replicate organs from animals that would be suitable for transplant into humans. This process would increase the amount of people who could be saved. Since there would be more organs, the waiting lists for transplants would become much shorter.

According to James Glassman or the Denver Post, February 26, 1997, "Engineered animals like pigs could be cloned and harvested for organs to transplant into sick humans". This would be much easier, because you don't have to wait for an organ donor. Cloning can also recreate certain genetically engineered animals that carry helpful substances. In the case of the sheep, the main product that they are trying to get is AAT, a sheep's milk now in clinical trials for use in treating cystic fibrosis. (CNN on-line, February 23, 1997) Also, according to the Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia, 1992, "clones have produced such medically important substances as In su! lin, interferon, and growth hormone". Due to the overwhelming positive implications, society must embrace this new technology.

The science of cloning should be used because it could resurrect extinct animals, give couples a new hope, and medical science now has a new tool that could potentially save thousands of lives. Cloning, once the stuff of science fiction, will with recent advances become an integral part of our society..