Why is Cloning Important?
Molecular Cloning allows scientists to not only discover the what proteins are present and their function, but also explore what happens in a cell when these proteins are changed. When studying cell division, specifically, scientists look for proteins that control the beginning and end of division. Using the recombinant DNA (containing the both the human cell DNA and the cloned plasmid), scientists can direct the replication within the human cells.
By manipulating cells with cloning and learning more about specific proteins, scientists can take their research and apply it to larger-sale research endeavors like diseases and pathogens.
It is important to note, however, that cloning is not used to study just proteins involved in the cell cycle. Molecular cloning has led scientists to discover the entire genetic sequences of many different species, inactivate genes in both humans and other organisms, and create transgenic organisms like herbicide resistant plants and glow-in-the-dark fish!
You can see that these tropical fish give off a slight glow because they have been marked with the same fluorescence that is native to some species of jellyfish.
Here, we see an image in which
the first two columns contain
petunias, each resistant to a specific,
but different antibiotic. In the third
column, the two antibiotic resistant
genes were added to the plant's genome
to produce a transgenic plant that is
resistant to both antibiotics.
One example of a specific type of protein that is researched using Molecular Cloning are Histones, which will be explored on the next page.