Mendeley Brainstorm – Send in the Clones?

Twenty years ago, the first sheep was cloned; there have been huge advances since.
Twenty years ago, the first sheep was cloned from an adult cell; there have been huge advances since.

Twenty years ago, Dolly, the first sheep cloned from an adult cell, was revealed to the world. Since then, cloning and genetic manipulation technologies have advanced considerably. Should we welcome a new era of genetic science? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes April 12, 2017.

Hello, Dolly

On February 22, 1997, the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the arrival of Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. According to the Institute, “in the week following the announcement…(we) received 3,000 phone calls from around the world”. Dolly had captured the public’s imagination about the potential of cloning, which at one point had been thought to be impossible.


Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine was intellectually stimulated by Dolly’s arrival. He subsequently investigated how the adult DNA which had been used to create Dolly had been revivified. The eventual result was “induced pluripotent stem cells”, which “have become a scientific workhorse, providing limitless supplies of differentiated cells and tissue for use in the lab” (Economist, 2017). They also are “an invaluable tool for modelling human diseases and screening drugs” (Economist, 2017).\

Moral Objections

Cloning technologies have always been controversial. Many ethicists and public figures have questioned whether scientists have the right to “play God” and alter the building blocks of humanity. Some countries, including the United States, have implemented restrictions on this research.

Send in the Clones?

Are these concerns overblown? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? What is the future of cloning in your view? Tell us!

Need Funding for Your Research?

Here are some of the latest funding opportunities for biology researchers provided by Mendeley Funding:

Organisation Opportunity
Oak Ridge Associated Universities Molecular biologist research opportunity in plant viruses
University of East Anglia Cloning and expression of topoisomerase genes from Trypanosoma brucei
Developing methods for genetically encoded unnatural amino acids to develop novel proteins
National Institutes of Health Cancer and stem cells epigenetics
Ancillary studies to the NIDDK intestinal stem cell consortium
Spermatogenic stem cell culture systems to preserve and restore reproductive capacity in males
Stem cell-derived blood products for therapeutic use: Technology improvement
John Templeton Foundation Genetics – Large grant
Genetics – Small grant

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.


Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies. (2017). The Economist. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

Hello, again, Dolly. (2017). The Economist. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

The Life of Dolly | Dolly the Sheep. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].

15 thoughts on “Mendeley Brainstorm – Send in the Clones?

  1. The current EU standpoint is based on: “the scientific fact that currently, cloning causes significantly more animal suffering than conventional breeding.” (1*, 2*). However as such it can be argued that there is nothing wrong with cloning – to help animals to get rid of “weak” genetic structures. The phenomenon exist also in nature: The case of identical twins. If one take the case to the extreme, on the one hand the cloned animals might become treated as machines, products and humans might also treat in the end each other as machines, tools for trade. Here is no any sense. When totally banning cloning on the other hand, animals, humans might have disadvantages in case of serious genetic malfunctions causing illnesses from which it is challenging to recover. It can be stated that the approach of the EU is the right one. A complex multi-dimensional theme must be kept within a simple, clear framework.

    1* The European Commission (2017). “Cloning” , Last updated 16/3/2017. Available at:
    2* Pete Wedderburn (2015). “No clones please, we’re European!” The Telegraph, 14 September 2015. Available at:

  2. Cloning I may say helps to bring about new breed of strong and healthy animals. But let us think of this, is it not a way of challenging the creation of God? What I think is that the world must come together and put and end to this because it is an infringement of the animal right. Also have we ever thought of it that their existence and breeding with the naturally created animals can bring about the distinction of the natural ones? This is because, when they inter- breed with the natural ones, they will produce new ones with different genetic identity and it will gradually lead to the distinction of the pure breeds. To my knowledge, I think cloning must be abolished.

  3. Humans have always sought control over its surroundings, externalizing all elements of life into predictable and manageable entities. It is not for us to welcome that fact or not. It is evolution playing in real-time in front of our reflected minds.

  4. Is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom?
    I believe that our knowledge would not higher than the God’s. May be we can create many ideas based on our knowledge, but I believe it would not really happened without the God’s permission.

  5. The concept of cloning evokes different feelings according to which kingdom we apply it to: for some plant species (e.g. banana), making clones is naturally the only way to “reproduce”. So, in the plant world, the creation of clones is completely accepted. Cloning animals is still tolerated by the most. Cloning a human breaks a number of rights and poses a number of ethical questions on human identity that i personally believe there’s no way to accept it, in the current state of knowledge. Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to clone a person and transfer the information stored in its brain to the new body as well. In that case, as far as I imagine, several of the critical points that make cloning unacceptable would be solved, because the person would be still be the same, one, person, and we could consider it a “body transplant”.

  6. There is a hidden thought; a genetic secret. This secret is hidden in the treasure of our genes. Its revelation can only make our world healthier, wiser and better. Interpretation of the codes locked up in our genes brings to fore the importance of genetic sciences.
    The thought of “playing God” does not arise. Otherwise, we play God in all we do everyday; when we manipulate what God already created in our body as scientist. But, this is not the case.
    He locked up a secret in the genes for us to unveil. He only hope and expect we unlock it. Lets look closely in the genes; lets continue to clone; lets continue to promote genetic sciences. Surely, we will see what we are looking for!

  7. I agree on the idea of Akinmola Olusola Allen to continue to promote genetic sciences. The idea of playing God for those who opposes cloning is a very week argument.Considering the Divine theory that God created everything. Its just right that we utilize all God given talents that we have to unravel all hidden mysteries waiting to be discovered. Cloning can provide vital data in the field of medicine research.Knowing how to clone and discovering the most kept secret of human existence thru cloning does not make us God, Its just simply making use of our mental faculties in order to solve a problem. Wisdom can never be attain without knowledge.The kind of knowledge that cloning is presenting us are the kind of knowledge necessary for us to reflect that divine creation is beyond comprehension.

  8. Genetic engineering has been happening, is happening, and will continue to happen regardless of how people feel about it. Science won’t stop, and shouldn’t stop, it’s exploration into genetics and its quest to save humanity from unspeakable, terrible, genetic diseases and complications simply because some people are against it! Even if banned, genetic research would still take place, it would simply take place with less oversight, less well-meaning intentions, and less sophistication (Kurzgesagt, 2016).
    Health is the top priority; it is unethical to stop research that could save people from unnecessary complications and lifetimes of suffering! Kant, a philosopher, maintains that it is not only the action, but the intention of the action that determines virtue (Kant, 1785). To therefore deny people freedom from such suffering simply because one’s ‘value system’ makes one uncomfortable when considering it may not be malicious, but it is sheer ignorance and it is cruel!

    Kant, I. (1785). Groundworks for the Metaphysics of Morals. Retrieved (pdf) from
    [Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell]. (2016, August 10). Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever – CRISPR. [Video File]. Retrieved from

  9. luar biasa, dan komunitas mendeley menampilkan hal-hal yang dapat mengispirasi untuk terus melakukan enelitian-penelitian ilmiah demi kebaharuan keilmuan dengan merujuk pada fakta-fakta santifik dan realitas serta memiliki nilai kemanfaatan yang tinggi dalam pemenuhan kebutuhan manusia baik pemenuhuhan kebuthan hidup sebagai kebutuhan biologis maupun pemenuhan kebutuhan pengembangan ilmu dan pengetahuan

  10. The notion of cloning appears to me like any others significant advances in sciences such as the discovery of a new medicine or vaccine. What matters is how we use the knowledge and tools in our disposal.
    To refer to the Bible, you can find a passage where God delegated the authority to mankind to have dominion over the fauna and flora. I consider that cloning is fitting in this line and is just an additional device that might help scientists / mankind to better understand and control the nature, thus, improve human well-being.
    The controversy around cloning might be linked to the belief and unawareness of the public, hence the need for scientists to communicate, especially on cloning’s adding value and to find the right framework for its use in order to avoid any misconduct. Indeed can we deny today the benefit of assisted reproductive techniques, being applied in humans or in husbandry, though they continue to raise debate?
    In the future, I see cloning as a useful technique that might allow considerable jumps in life sciences provided that a consensus is found around it.

  11. Cloning research should continue. Many of the hesitations that individuals have are often not grounded in scientific research but in narratives perpetuated through science fiction that aims to exploit human fear. Amit Marcus contends “…cloning provokes anxiety over the desire to pursue scientific knowledge and control nature as the ultimate goal of humanity.”(1) That is not to say that cloning does not have its risks; clone lifespans are shorter than original organisms’, and clone technology is still in its early developmental stages (2). That being said, most scientific endeavors begin in this manner. Furthermore, cloning will continue to have innumerable benefits. For example, induced pluripotent stem cells that were discovered as a result of cloning are scientifically invaluable and they have removed some of the controversy related to embryonic stem cell use. Precautions for research should be taken, as usual, but, in sum, cloning is an incredibly worthwhile research path.

    (1) Amit Marcus. “The Ethics of Human Cloning in Narrative Fiction.” Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 49, no. 3, 2012, pp. 405–433.,
    (2) Patrick Stephens. “Human Cloning is Good for All of Us.” The Atlas Society.,

  12. Thank you to all who entered – the team will review the comments and select a winner as soon as possible.

  13. Hi – Apologies, we’ve contacted the winner, but not yet received a response. Unless we hear by next Monday, we’ll have to select a different winner. Thanks.

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