Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Cloning Endangered Species
One potential application of cloning technology is the cloning of endangered organisms to prevent their extinction. The nucleus from a cell of the endangered animal is fused with an egg cell and carried in the uterus of a related species. A company called Advanced Cell Technologies has successfully accomplished this. The cloned animal was a guar, an endangered Asian ox. The guar nucleus was fused with the egg of a cow named Bessie. Bessie incubated the egg and gave birth to a healthy calf. This technology is not realistic for fossilized specimens, but can work with frozen ones.
Students will write a speech to present to the World Wildlife fund (WWF) on the potential of cloning to save endangered species. Students may write from one of several points of view, such as a scientist, an animal rights activist, a representative of the WWF, or a party with an economic interest in animal cloning. Students' speeches should address the process of cloning, should include valid and persuasive arguments why specific animals should or should not be cloned, and should outline the advantages and disadvantages of this type of conservation. Students may use visuals, film clips, fictional guest speakers, and so on to enhance their presentation.
Students will begin their research on the topic Canada Enters the Clone Age on the CBC Digital Archives website, including the clip titled "China suggests cloning Giant Pandas." Students can then expand their Internet research to find out about endangered animals that have been successfully cloned and potential cloning candidates. Students will work in small groups to conduct their research, but will write their speech independently.
Students can either submit a script or present their speech to the class. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions. Consider asking: Should we clone an animal just because we have the technology to do so?