cloning?

  1. Science - Reuters

    Cloned Calves Make Human Antibodies
    Mon Aug 12,11:58 AM ET
    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A growing herd of cloned calves may provide a variety of human antibodies to treat diseases ranging from childhood ear infections to smallpox, researchers said on Monday.

    The cloned and genetically engineered calves carry not just a single human gene, but a section of genes that control the production of many different antibodies, a team at privately owned Hematech, LLC, reported.

    Jim Robl, a researcher who helped found South Dakota-based Hematech, said he believed it was the largest chunk of genes ever transferred from one species into another at once.

    "What we were excited about was the fact that we got a live calf out of it," Robl said in a telephone interview.

    So far the calves produce low levels of human antibodies, but Robl thinks he can find ways to suppress their native immune systems to produce more of the human product.

    Then each cloned calf could be an antibody factory, he said, producing a variety of products.

    His team first created an artificial piece of human chromosome that carries the genes involved in making antibodies. They spliced this into skin cells from cattle, then cloned calves from these genetically engineered cells.

    They have about 20 healthy male and female cloned calves that can produce human antibodies in their blood, Robl said.

    The hope is to eventually have a herd of cattle that could be infected with a range of viruses and bacteria, causing their bodies to make antibodies to treat human disease, said the researcher, whose work is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

    Antibodies are already widely used in medicine, one of the best known being the gamma globulin shot used against hepatitis. They are also injected to treat immune deficiencies, tetanus and shingles.

    "They are also used as antitoxins, for example snake bite toxins and botulinum toxin" that causes botulism food poisoning, Robl said.

    Antibodies are proteins that attach to specific invaders such as bacteria and viruses, to cancer cells or to a toxin. They can stop a microbe or cell from functioning or can flag it for immune system cells to come and destroy.

    STOPPING EAR INFECTIONS

    One potential new use is against children's ear infections, he said, by injecting a child with antibodies against the bacteria and viruses that cause the infections, thus either supplementing antibiotics, or working to prevent repeated infections.

    "Another area we looking at is biodefense," Robl said, using antibodies to protect against anthrax, smallpox, botulin toxin and other possible biological weapons.

    The human antibody system allows the body to fight off new infections without having seen them before. Genetically, it is controlled by long sections of DNA that are cut up and recombined as needed.

    Getting this long stretch of DNA into another animal's cell was the first big step in the process but Robl's team created an artificial stretch of human chromosome they were eventually able to splice into the DNA of cattle skin cells.

    "We were able to demonstrate that the chromosome is retained through all the divisions necessary to make a live, healthy calf," Robl said.
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    i know this is only one example, but i figured it might work as a starting off point. i think all of the possibilities are scary and fascinating at the same time. so what does everyone else think of cloning and stem cell research?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   kristi915
    It's all horrible. I feel that it is a sign of the end. It shouldn't be done at all. We are who we are, we don't need a twin unless our mothers gave birth to two. I feel it's inhumane......(ooo big word)
  4. by   live4today
    Originally posted by kristi915
    It's all horrible. I feel that it is a sign of the end. It shouldn't be done at all. We are who we are, we don't need a twin unless our mothers gave birth to two. I feel it's inhumane......(ooo big word)
    DITTO!!! So well said, Kristi! :kiss
  5. by   Love-A-Nurse
    i am against having people/animals/what have you, cloned.
  6. by   Rustyhammer
    I don't understand why you are against this.
    I reread it and am I missing something?
    This is a good thing right?
    -Russell
  7. by   kristi915
    Good because of the cures for illnesses and diseases. But bad because they are messing with the way God created us. Sience is taking over the world, eventually they will come up with something that is smarter then us humans and will take over, unless Jesus comes to save us first. (don't mean to preach, just my beliefs)
  8. by   Rustyhammer
    oh...Didn't think about that factor.
    I understand now.
    -Russell
  9. by   aimeee
    Great potential for good here, but scary because of the potential for mistakes or intentional evil when the wrong folks get to tinkering.
  10. by   duckie
    Scientist may be able to clone a body, but where does the soul come from since it was intended for only God to create life. Sounds like the "Night of the Living Dead" to me. You would have empty shells of bodies with no soul, spirit or feelings to guide them.. All of this comes from God, not a test tube!!!!!
  11. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by rustyhammer
    i don't understand why you are against this.
    i reread it and am i missing something?
    this is a good thing right?
    -russell
    rusty, i believe your post was for me? if so, i have my personal reasons and just didn't feel like going into it, but i will say for the most part, i agree with kristi.
  12. by   Rustyhammer
    originally posted by lpn,future, rn
    rusty, i believe your post was for me? if so, i have my personal reasons and just didn't feel like going into it, but i will say for the most part, i agree with kristi.
    i didn't direct it towards anyone.
    i'm just not that familiar with christianity
    and didn't think about that part.
    -russell
  13. by   LasVegasRN
    The only part I fear about cloning is going back to another person who wanted a "super race" of human beings. He tried to eliminate what he felt were "inferior" humans and did it very successfully for a period of years. They can already screen genes to detemine which fertilized egg will give you the sex of the child you want, they think they have isolated a "gay" gene, what's next? Sure, you can clone things to help cure Alzheimers, cancer, and all kinds of ailments we do not have cures for, but the dark side of cloning has too many implications that I would not feel comfortable with.
  14. by   deespoohbear
    I believe we are treading dangerous waters with cloning. My personal belief is that the good that could possibly be done would be outweighed by the evil it could inflict. We are messing with ideas and concepts that are best left to our Creator. Just my .02.

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