How does cloning work?

This month, Britain witnessed the first ever cloned dog on its shores. The Dachshund named ‘Mini Winnie’, was cloned after a competition was run by Korean company Sooam Biotech. Despite raising numerous ethical and moral issues, the process showcased just how far the science of cloning has come. Here’s how it works:

Cloning is the way in which organisms are copied through non-sexual means. Plant cloning is used frequently but duplicating animals is much more difficult. The cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1996 showed it could be done and since then many animals have been cloned.

Essentially, an egg is retrieved from an adult of the chosen animal and its nucleus is removed in a process known as enucleation. Then genes such as a skin cell are given to an unfertilised egg who’s genetic information has been removed. As this egg fertilises, it duplicates the DNA and creates a clone. A surrogate mother is selected to give birth to the clone. This is also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer.

The diagram below shows how Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996: