Why to clone animals? – it is this type of questions that Professor Keith Campbell, the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep, tried to answer. His lecture opened the GENesis Project – a series of events dedicated to various issues in biotechnology.
The lecture delivered by Professor Campbell aimed at popularising knowledge about cloning, its limitations and the associated opportunities. But why to try cloning at all? “Because cloning brings new solutions for agriculture, medicine, biology, and ecology”, argued the renowned scientist.
First of all, cloning combined with genetic modification is the shortest way to ensure that animals grow faster, are less vulnerable to diseases and have less fat in their milk. This is possible due to the fact that we can introduce selected genes conditioning, for example, resistance to avian flu, mad-cow disease and bacterial infections, into the DNA of a given specimen. We can also use genes that alter animal metabolism or make sheep or cows produce therapeutic proteins for humans.
In order to obtain a similar effect by using traditional breeding, we would have to wait a very long time, patiently crossing selected animals without any guarantee that we will succeed. Thanks to cloning, we are also able to keep alive endangered animal species, improve biodiversity by renewing the species gene pool or try to recover animals that became extinct.
Professor Keith Campbell’s lecture is the first event that raises the subject of cloning. The next ones include a meeting for young people discussing the ethical problems related to cloning and the Living Library, which is open to all who are willing to come.