Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms. The term also refers to the production of multiple copies of a product such as digital media or software.
The term clone is derived from the Ancient Greek word κλών (klōn, “twig”), referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig. In horticulture, the spelling clon was used until the twentieth century; the final e came into use to indicate the vowel is a "long o" instead of a "short o". Since the term entered the popular lexicon in a more general context, the spelling clone has been used exclusively.
In botany, the term lusus was traditionally used.
In the United States, the human consumption of meat and other products from cloned animals was approved by the FDA on December 28, 2006, with no special labeling required. Such practice has met strong resistance in other regions, such as Europe, particularly over the labeling issue.