Cloning Dolly

show/hide words to know

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): molecular instructions that guide how all living things develop and function...more

Egg: a female gamete, which keeps all the parts of a cell after fusing with a sperm.

Gamete: specialized cells found in your reproductive organs that have half the amount of DNA of somatic cells. These cells combine to make a fertilized egg... more

Gene: a region of DNA that instructs the cell on how to build protein(s). As a human, you usually get a set of instructions from your mom and another set from your dad... more

Nucleus: where DNA stays in the cell, plural is nuclei.

Somatic cells: the cells in your body, except for gametes. Soma is Latin for body.

Sperm: a male gamete, which fuses with the egg during fertilization... more

What Makes a Clone a Clone? 

We just learned that a clone is someone who shares your DNA, like identical twins. What's the big deal then? If we have clones running around, going to school, playing with other kids like you, why is cloning making the evening news? Cloning is such a big deal because of two reasons. Reason number one is that we can do it outside of the mother. Reason number two is that we can put DNA from wherever we want to take it from and put it into another cell.

what's a clone

About thirty years ago, a technology was developed that helped women have babies. This technology is called in vitro fertilization (IVF.) It uses very small instruments to hold an egg in place, while a sperm is inserted into it. This process is repeated for several eggs. These eggs are kept frozen until the mother is ready. When the mother is ready, the cells are placed in her to start dividing and make an embryo.

Scientists thought that the technology could be used to remove a nucleus from a mother's egg and replace it with the nucleus from another cell. This would mean that the egg would not need sperm because the nucleus would be replaced with the nucleus of a somatic cell. Remember that a somatic cell has all the genetic material it needs to live. A gamete has only half the amount of genetic material. Scientists thought that egg cells were the right type of cell because they were young and fresh. They were correct.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: What's a Clone?
  • Author(s): Faye Farmer
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: September 29, 2009
  • Date accessed: May 21, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Faye Farmer. (2009, September 29). What's a Clone?. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved May 21, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Faye Farmer. "What's a Clone?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 29 September, 2009.

MLA 2017 Style

Faye Farmer. "What's a Clone?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 29 Sep 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 21 May 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see

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