One More Clone Perspective
by Jan Baughman

The most profound scientific breakthrough in the history of humankind is upon us, and just in time for the new millennium celebrations. A British embryologist has successfully cloned an adult sheep by inserting its DNA into the egg of a ewe, replacing the egg's own DNA. The egg, containing the adult sheep's DNA, began to divide and grow and formed an embryo. A lamb-clone was born.

(As an aside, if you are searching for one of the hot careers of the 00's - it's bioethics.) Journalists and ethicists and (religious) pundits alike are in a frenzy, warning us about the danger of playing God, tampering with evolution and setting forth momentum on a process for which Standard Operating Procedures are not in place to control. All this time, we've waited and fantasized and hypothesized, but we're still not ready... In fact, perhaps all of the caution that is thrust at us is a disguise for the true concern: That we no longer need sperm to reproduce. Imagine the consequences. What a brave new world.

In this world, of course, there will be the sheep with the perfect and prolific wool, the cows with their efficient milk production. Horse-racing will become obsolete; once every owner gets their hands on Secretariat's hair we'll be left with nothing but Triple-Crown photo-finish ties.

Crossing that slippery slope to humans, the possibilities become even more interesting. Start now to harvest your own autologous organ replacements. Go ahead, ruin your heart, lungs and liver - there's a perfect match awaiting! Women: always dreamed of marrying a man just like your father? Snatch one of those fingernail clippings and create your own dream. A father-figure younger man...

The most interesting potential may lie in the realm of social experimentation. For example, let's recreate Einstein and see where he leads us from contemporary beginnings. Bring back JFK and watch whether he falls victim of the scandalous present or continues down a path of inspiration. Raise a Hitler-clone in an environment of family values, and, once and for all, put the "genetics vs. environment" question to rest.

The possibilities are limitless, the consequences unimaginable. Perhaps curiosity can be cloned; it certainly cannot be contained. One thing is for certain: I do not want to live in a world where technology is suppressed out of fear of the unknown. There we might as well all be a bunch of clones.

Published February 27, 1997
[Copyright]-[Archives]-[Main Page]