Lesson Plans

The Clone Age


The Clone Age
  These study questions address important topics introduced by this program and are listed in the sequence in which they are covered in the video. Answers to focus questions are available.

Focus Questions
  1. What difference is there between the first successful cloning experiments of the 1950s and the more recent cloning of Dolly, the sheep?

2. Explain why some people feel that the development of human cloning is like the development of nuclear weapons.

3. Why would a clone be a good source for a blood, organ, or bone marrow transplant?

4. Describe the cloning process known as nuclear transfer.

5. What is the benefit of putting human genes into an animalís DNA?

6. Would a human clone be an exact duplicate - in every way - of the human it was cloned from? Why or why not?

7. Why do you think many world leaders have imposed a ban on human cloning experiments?

8. What might be some of the beneficial applications of cloning?

Discussion Questions
  1. Medical advances save lives, but does technology go too far? Discuss whether anything and everything should be done to save a personís life.

2. By studying twins, scientists are analyzing which has more influence on a personís behavior and personality: their genes or the environment in which they are raised. What conclusions can you make about this argument?

3. Debate the ethics of cloning only the best and brightest of the human race. If you were in charge of undertaking such a project, which qualities would you look for when selecting your cloning subjects? Would you be doing a disservice to the human race by undertaking this project? Why or why not?

4. Medical procedures that were once thought unethical, such as transplanting hearts and fertilizing babies in test tubes, are now relatively common. On the other hand, some scientific projects that seemed clear-cut at first, like the development of the nuclear bomb, are now subject to ethical debates. Compare the ethics of cloning with the ethics of earlier scientific developments.

5. Politicians around the world have begun to ban human cloning experiments. Do you think it is a good or bad idea for politicians to decide what scientists can and cannot do? How about religious authorities, many of whom are also opposed to human cloning? Who should make such decisions and why?

6. Explain some of the commonly held misconceptions about cloning. Why do you think people have these kinds of misconceptions?

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