Sunday, March 15, 2015

cloning and mtDNA issues

Talk of cloning always focuses on the nuclear DNA, and they don't care where the cell came from that has its nuclear DNA destroyed with a laser and replaced with the material to be cloned. In one plan, a human might be cloned using a cow egg. Why? I think the result would have some bovine strengths of some sort. Why? mitochondrial DNA is transferred on the maternal line only. Very rarely does a sperm have mtDNA and probably such never meet an egg, being weighed down and swimming slower. The changes in mtDNA lineages might conceivably reflect this once in a blue moon happening. or just mutations. or both.
A cloned horse (several registries resist cloning) would not be the identical twin actually of its original, unless the cell was from the original and tricked into dividing like a zygote, or an egg from a horse of its matrilineage. The mtDNA would be different.
This is also a potential forensics nightmare. Identification of human remains, sometimes of possible perpetrators, and of family relations from the past, often depends on mtDNA. Change the matrilineage and you change this.
Exactly what the mtDNA does is anyone's guess. mitochondria is dismissed as just ATP energy production material, but it is probably more. in some horse breeds the frame and stamina are considered to pass on the female side, The health and strength of the female is important to that of the foals, cubs, whatever, the value of big strong males among deer and elk is to help produce stronger females. I can't imagine why anyone would want to mess with cow eggs to clone people with, unless they have figured this out and want to use it to make stronger people. or perhaps even more herd like people.

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