Engineering cloned animals and people isn't a thing of sci-fi fantasy. You might be surprised to know the first record of animal cloning dates back to 1952, with the duplication of a tadpole. In 1996, Dolly the sheep made headlines by appearing as the world's first mammalian clone grown with the aid of adult animal cell tissue. Fast forward to today, and you'll find domesticated cats and dogs, pigs, goats, frogs and more which bear the exact resemblance as their DNA contributor. The act of cloning, through asexual reproduction, actually appears naturally in the environment fairly often. Sponges undergo a process called budding where miniature sponge spores grow on the parent, then break off and become baby sponges of their own. Yet the awe and controversy following the trend of cloning remains a highly debated topic.
Proponents of cloning animals say creating carbon copies helps struggling species thrive, combat disease, grow organs and enhance biomedical research. In addition, some farmers have noted the ability to clone could lead to tastier, more consistent meat production. However, skeptics question the quality and safety of meat from cloned animals, as well as general ethical concerns. Check out this playlist and learn more about the pros and cons of copycat species.