July 23 - Cloning Success!

 Posted on July 23, 2021

This is an update of my post published on July 23, 2010:

On this date in 1998 the “Yana team” (Ryuzo Yanagimachi and his research team from the University of Hawaii) published about their new technique for cloning mammals from adult cells. The team cloned more than 50 identical mice representing three different generations. The paper was published in the respected journal Nature.

Dolly the sheep, the first mammal successfully cloned,
is perhaps the most famous clone as well.

Many plants and most animals reproduce sexually, which means that a male fish and a female fish together produce baby fish, male birds and female birds together make fertilized eggs, male plant parts and female plant parts work together to create seeds, and so forth. In sexual reproduction, there are two parents, each passing on half of his or her genetic material, and so almost every baby plant or animal ends up being unique. (Of course there are exceptions such as identical twins.)

Some organisms reproduce asexually. Bacteria, protists, many fungi and plants, and some animals are able to create offspring with just one parent―and the offspring has pretty much the same genes as that parent. (Again, there are exceptions such as mutation and “lateral gene transfer.”)

Cloning is a lot like asexual reproduction. Generally speaking, genetic material (inside a nucleus) is taken from a single individual and is inserted into an egg that has no nucleus. If the cell begins dividing, it is transferred to a surrogate mother. Another artificial cloning method involves deliberately creating identical twins by dividing a cell at a crucial state of development―and both pieces go on to create identical organisms.

There is a lot of controversy over cloning―especially over cloning humans―but actually farmers and gardeners have been cloning plants for centuries or even millennia! One could say that it is unfair to use the word cloning for processes such as grafting, but the word was used in horticulture first!

One method of grafting

For more on cloning, check out this YouTube video.

Also on this date:

July 22 - African Holidays!

 Posted on July 22, 2021

This is an update of my post published on July 22, 2010:

There are three holidays in three different African nations, today:

Revolution Day in The Gambia

National Tree Planting Day in the Central African Republic

Birthday of King Sobhuza II in Eswatini

The Gambia, which is the smallest nation on the mainland continent of Africa, runs on either side of the river “The Gambia” and is surrounded almost entirely by Senegal. On this day The Gambia commemorates the 1994 ousting of the Jawara government by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council. According to Wikipedia, the AFPRC, led by Yahya Jammeh, moved toward making the Gambia more democratic, and there were several elections that outsiders rated as fair. However, Jammeh began to abuse his power, imprisoning political opponents. In other words, he became something of a dictator!

After ruling The Gambia for 22 years, Jammeh lost an election. He declared the results void and called for another election. A coalition of West African nations staged a military intervention, and Jammeh ended up conceding the loss and leaving the nation.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to maintain democracy! Many folks just love power, and when they get power, they HATE to lose it!

By the way, back in 2013 Jammeh decreed that The Gambia would not longer be a member of the British Commonwealth - and would never again rejoin. However, in 2018 - and under a new president, The Gambia DID rejoin the Commonwealth.

Here are three photos of The Gambia:

The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked nation right in the center of Africa. Although it is one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world, it has potential in eco-tourism, because it has so many rain forests and so much wildlife that visitors will want to see.

Planting trees to keep the nation green is a good way of protecting these important features! So happy National Tree Planting Day to folks in the CAR!

Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is another tiny country (like the Gambia) that is landlocked (like the CAR). In fact, it is almost entirely surrounded by South Africa. 

On this day an important former king (pictured left) is honored. 

King Sobhuza II ruled 82 years and 9 months (although part of that rule was when he was very young, and his grandmother acted as regent). This is the longest precisely dated reign on record.

King Sobhuza married 70 wives and had 210 children. When he died in 1982, he had over one thousand grandchildren!

Here are a couple of landscapes of Eswatini:

Find the African nations the Gambia, Eswatini (Swaziland), and the Central African Republic on this interactive map by moving the cursor over it.

Did you know that yams, watermelon, black-eyed-peas, coffee, cola, and okra - and loads of other foods and beverages - came from Africa? 

Here are some recipes from The Gambia, Eswatini, and the Central African Republic.