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Activity: cloning – what do you know?

Cloning is very much a live issue, but it is complicated by the fact that cloning can mean many different things. It can be hard to form an opinion backed up by scientific fact on this issue if you are not completely sure what each different type of cloning is.

Here is an opportunity to correct this lack of knowledge. You are going to produce a large wall display covered with articles informing people about the main types of cloning.

Activity – create a poster

Decide on the age group at which your material is to be aimed.

Carry out a survey or vote among your target group before the display is put up to find out what proportion of the group is aware that there are different types of cloning, and what proportion understand what the different types of cloning include. Record your findings.

Work on your own or in a small group to produce a poster to go up on the wall as part of a bigger display. Your part of this display will provide information about one area of cloning – explaining what it is, how this type of cloning has already been used, and how it is (realistically) likely to be used in the future. You can also cover laws, religious views and ethical arguments, but remember the main purpose of this display is to inform people’s knowledge, not to influence their opinions. Overall, the whole display should provide information about all types of cloning.

Use a variety of resources to help you find more information – the material on this site is a good starting point. Other sites such as the BBC and New Scientist can be relied upon to have interesting and authoritative articles on scientific topics such as cloning. There are many other websites which can give you different sides of the arguments. Use a search engine to find these.

Now plan your display material, making sure that you include as much scientific evidence as possible whilst still being easily understood by your target audience. Your material should be no more than one side of A3 of text plus any images you want to use.

Hints

  • Remember that cloning achievements vary from species to species, and from cells to whole organisms - be precise about how limited each particular area of research is.

  • The display should cover the three main areas of cloning: reproductive cloning, artificial twining and therapeutic cloning. You could expand the display by splitting reproductive cloning into embryonic cell and somatic cell cloning, including DNA cloning (see the genetic engineering and polymerase chain reaction resources for more information), or covering cloning in humans and other species separately.

  • Make sure that the level of content is appropriate for your target group.

  • Once the material has been displayed for at least a week, repeat your initial survey or vote and analyse the data to see if access to your information has changed people’s knowledge.