Hang on, just let me make a quick clone fall

I mean phone call. Because, if I thought he remembered me, I would call and say "thank you."

Because of the time I spent in his lab, I know that cloning started long before Dolly. The first vertebrate animal was cloned over 50 years ago.

And it wasn't a sheep.

Raising Rana pipiens
Several years ago, I had the good fortune to work as a student intern for one of the kings of cloning, Robert McKinnell, now an emeritus professor in the Cell Biology and Genetics Department at the University of Minnesota. Reminiscing on history a bit, reminds me how grateful I am that he gave me the chance to work in his lab raising tadpoles, growing tumors, and doing surgery on frogs. I didn't really understand much at the time about the work that was going on, and he was on sabbatical most of the time, but I learned more than I realized and got started for better or worse on the path to graduate school and beyond.

Robert McKinnell was one of the first people to get involved in cloning. He began cloning frogs in 1960's in order to explore questions about development and the ability of an embryonic cell to differentiate into multiple kinds of tissues (1).

These are still important questions.

If we knew more about cellular development and control, we might be able to accomplish some much-desired and currently unattainable goals, like growing new organs, regenerating paralyzed nerves, or regenerating amputated limbs. It is important to note that cloning research has done far more than give us cute cloned puppies and sad stories about Korean scientists. We have gained insights from cloning experiments that have greatly increased our understanding of cancer, cell cycle regulation, and stem cell technology. Cloning is an important a tool for building a stronger knowledge base, one that may even make those much-desired goals become attainable.

1. R.G. McKinnell "Intraspecific nuclear transplantation in frogs." 1962. J Hered.53:199-208.

technorati tags: , ,

More like this

Matt Yglesias comments on one of Amy Sullivan's usual complaints about "secular liberal intolerance" in the most cynical, hypocritical way possible: Now Amy's right. It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief —…
tags: Harry Potter, computers Those of you who love Harry Potter might be deceived into downloading a worm onto your computer via infected USB memory drives. If users plug these drives into their Windows PCs, they are liable to infect their machines with the appropriately named Hairy-A worm.…
David Roberts is, as usual, bang on in his latest Grist column, lamenting the pointlessness of the debate between those who insist we need more research and development before tackling climate change, and those who say we shouldn't wait. (Roberts is among the best commenters around when it comes to…
tags: amphibians, leopard frog, Rana pipiens, photography, subway art, AMNH, NYC, NYCLife I think this is a Leopard frog, Rana pipiens. as portrayed in tiles on the walls of the NYC uptown subway stop (A-B-C) at 81st and Central Park West. (ISO, no zoom, no flash). Image: GrrlScientist 2008. […

Yes, and we've had McKinnell out to give seminars on cloning to our students a few times. He's a good guy who gives an interesting talk.

He was a great teacher!! I volunteered to work in his lab after I took his "Biology of Cancer Class." I had to buy a dictionary to understand the textbook but the class was so fascinating that it made me want to work at understanding it.