Since cloning was first made possible back in 1952, there have been many advances made to the science by numerous people. The two innovators that definitely warrants mention would be the scientists who made everything possible: Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King, who in 1952 successfully cloned northern leopard frogs through the nuclear transfer of embryonic cells. Steen Willesden also made a mark when used this same process again in 1984 to create the first verified mammal clone of a sheep, thus leading the science community to believe that human cloning was right around the corner. The rest of the world, however, had no such thought until 1996, when another sheep, Dolly, was born from embryonic cells by Ian Wilmuth and Keith Campbell of the Roslin Institute in Scotland. The world greeted this with either praises or condemnations. Praises for the hope that human cloning was only a step away and would bring in medical advances that would save lives ,and condemnations for the fact that human cloning WAS a step away and how it could possibly bring in all sorts of legal and ethical issues.

     A critical piece of information that most people tend to skip over is that cloning is not restricted to only animals, something that professors Huimin Zhao and Wilfred A. van der Donk of the University of Illinois can attest to. Both professors and their team of graduate students used a cloning technique developed by microbiologist William W. Metcalf to isolate and subsequently clone certain genes of the bacteria Streptomyces fradiae. The importance of this bacterium? It is the native producer of a compound called Fosfomycin, which can inactivate an essential enzyme required for the formation of the bacterial cell wall. Simply put, this potentially means that current antibiotics such as penicillin and vancomycin will be significantly more effective in treating illnesses, even a variety of strains that were once purportedly "drug-resistant". The team have already determined what genes are specifically required for the synthesize fosfomycin, and have even discovered the function of some of those genes.  Before this, four essential genes and a portion of fosfomycin's biosynthetic pathway had been proposed, but researchers were unable to produce fosfomycin in a non-native host before Zhao's achievement. Their success is published in a paper found in the Nov. 2006 issue of Chemistry and Biology. 


 President of Clonaid announcing their "discovery"


     Of course, all of these were just single instances of cloning, as in one at a time. For most of these people's fears of clone armies or doppelgangers to be true, there has to be a way to mass-produce them. That would not be possible until July of 1998, when Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Tony Perry, and Teruhiko Wakayama announced that they had cloned 50 mice from adult cells since October 1997. Not only did it make people even more paranoid  but it added to the fuel by showing that even adults could be cloned, not just embryos.

"Our goal now is to produce fosfomycin in Escherichia coli so that we can use various protein and metabolic engineering tools to manipulate the fosfomycin biosynthetic pathway... Eventually, we should be able to produce fosfomycin in a cost-effective manner and create more potent derivatives of it." 

-Huimin Zhao professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering University of Illinois


One final mention would for the Clonaid Company, a company founded for the specific purpose of human cloning and has philosophical ties to the Raëlian religion, a religion that believes that clones are the first step towards the ultimate goal of immortality. They brought the world together on the issue when their chief executive officer, Brigitte Boisselier, announced that the company had succeeded in cloning a human baby girl named Eve. While no concrete proof was ever produced, the scientific community went wild, either condemning the company for “premature human experimentation and…the high incidence of malformations and fetal deaths in animal cloning” or accepting the claim because “scientists understood human reproductive chemistry better than that of most animals. For this reason, they thought that a higher rate of success was possible in human cloning compared with animal cloning.” It has since been dismissed as nothing more than a publicity stunt and a sham, after a Florida lawyer investigated for a potential lawsuit against the company and finding that Clonaid was not its real name among other discrepancies.

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