News roundup: Do clones live shorter lives?

Have you heard that clones don’t live as long as the organism they’re cloned from?

Guess what.

It’s not true.

We look at this misconception and other news from the world of genetics today in the roundup.

First up, we look at the tale of Dolly and her rather short life, for a sheep.

This was all based on a Dolly’s telomeres, which were shorter than other sheep. But, this was never linked to the issues that led to her euthanization: Progressive lung disease and severe arthritis.

Recently, scientists examined her bones to see if her death were actually linked to cloning.

A study of 13 cloned sheep — including four derived from the same DNA strand as Dolly — concluded that there is no evidence that indicates cloning has any long-term health risks. Dolly’s ‘four sisters’ all lived to be at least eight years old, which is the approximate equivalent of 70 in human years, and all lived a healthy life.

Another conception that might wind up being proven unture: Clones of clones are degenerative versions of the original.

In Korea, scientists have scientists have made a clone of Snoopy, the first dog clone. Their objective was to see if duplicating animals speeds up the aging process or causes unknown birth defects.

Their curious as to see if the clones live a shorter life than Snoopy, who in turn lived a year less than the dog he was cloned from, Tai.

Meanwhile, in Wales, scientists are putting CRISPR to good use.

Scientists at Cardiff University have used CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology to produce highly specific killer T cell receptors.

The replaced the regular receptors found on T cells with their own, which are geared up to better tracking down and killing cancer cells. If this research is successful, it could mean the beginning of the end of cancer as a death sentence for many people.

Anyway, have a great Thursday and keep an eye on the future.


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