(ORDO NEWS) — Human cloning is so difficult that, as far as is known, this sci-fi feat has never been accomplished.
Part of it is a matter of technology. Humans are complex and sensitive beings, starting with our DNA. But perhaps more appropriately, given that animal cloning began in the 1990s, human cloning is a hot political issue and one that doesn’t cause much controversy.
Most people agree that human cloning is “morally wrong”. Few issues have this level of consensus – and scholars mostly agree. In 2003, 60 different scientific academies around the world called on the United Nations to ban human cloning.
Despite the difficulties, laws against human cloning are rather sparse. Many also believe that this technology is almost available. So you can forget about old statements like “two identical objects cannot occupy the same space”. You definitely won’t destroy the universe by embracing your clone. Human cloning is just an engineering task, so despite public opinion, it’s probably inevitable.
But it’s important to remember that, unlike full-fledged “replicants” from Blade Runner and similar scenarios, a human clone will almost certainly begin as an embryo. This is what actually happens if you clone yourself.
Cloning a human is not only difficult, it has been impossible until now, mainly due to the unique design of our germ cells. There is even a strange difference in the degree of difficulty in cloning seemingly similar animals.
“I don’t think anyone realized how difficult cloning would be in some species, but relatively easy in others,” Stanford bioethicist Hank Greeley said in an interview. “Cats: easy; dogs: difficult; mice: easy; rats: difficult; humans and other primates: very difficult.”
Since the late 90s, various scientists have claimed to have cracked the code for human cloning, but the facts do not support these claims, according to NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute.
Cloning oneself or other genetically related primates most likely involves removing the nucleus from a donor egg to replace it with an adult cell nucleus. But in primate eggs (and humans are primates), a pair of proteins needed for cell division, called “spindle proteins,” are so close together that tampering with that sensitive cell removes these growth-essential components.
This is a real problem. And because a major pharmaceutical company doesn’t show much commercial interest in human cloning, according to Boston University bioethicist George Annas, the funding doesn’t match the complexity of the problem. In short, your efforts to clone yourself may bring scientific prestige, public stigma, and possible jail time, but not necessarily millions.
In practice, clones are not exact copies. This fact is not at all encouraging and irritatingly contradicts the very word “clone”. First, your clone will start as a baby instead of emerging from a human 3D printer. Depending on your age, you may be quite old by the time your copy takes shape.
But the main problem lies in the expression of genes. DNA match does not mean developmental match. Anyone who has “identical” twins knows that the term is a bit of a misnomer. There are always small differences.
This is because the environment “plays a big role in how an organism turns out,” according to the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. Genes are like switches. They can either be enabled or disabled. Many things can flip these switches – or not. The NIH notes that the first cloned cat had a very different coat from its genetically identical mother, so they don’t look alike at all.
If you’re planning on cloning yourself for deception, like Christian Bale in The Prestige, you might want to look to Christopher Nolan and think bigger. Perhaps if you implant your clone embryo into a replica of your own past, that cloned universe will express genes just as it did in you. But also, since it’s not, maybe not. Who knows.
There are no clear federal laws against human cloning in the United States. Florida, Delaware, Oregon, Texas, Washington and other states also do not have state laws against human copying. Other states, such as California, have made exceptions for cloning research on the condition that no child is produced.
However, Arkansas, Michigan and some other states have completely banned any cloning. So, if you don’t choose your seat carefully, you and your clone could be in double trouble – though if you’re sentenced to jail time, there might be someone who can take your place.
Federal legislation to ban human clones has been unsuccessfully attempted on numerous occasions, some of them with ridiculously low civil penalties, such as a $5,000 fine – hardly something that would even stop advertising for Doublemint gum.
This power vacuum was left to the top Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which simply asserted its authority in 1998 by issuing two simple decrees: If you want to make a clone, you need FDA approval; And yet, the answer will be negative. They cited “serious unresolved security issues”.
Internationally, in 2019, the Chinese government sentenced the first scientist to create a genetically modified child to three years in prison. He Jiankui used CRISPR (DNA editing) technology to edit the DNA of twins (aka natural clones) in order to create immunity to HIV.
Despite the seemingly laudable goal, a Chinese court ruled that the experiment was carried out “in the pursuit of personal fame and gain.” Many scientists also condemned this experiment. Three children were born as a result of these cloning efforts.
Don’t count on getting clones anytime soon, because even after you successfully crack the genomic code, convince the public that all is well, and get around various laws, it’s likely that your doppelgänger will get into trouble. with health.
According to Scientific American, the first mammalian clone created from an adult cell was Dolly the Sheep. This was huge news in 1996 and seemed to herald a brave new world. But Dolly died young, at the age of only 6, which is about the average age for a sheep.
She had early osteoarthritis, and researchers at the time thought cloning might have been the cause. However, in a later study, this conclusion was deemed “unsubstantiated”, despite the fact that Dolly had other health problems, and Dolly’s clones were many, and most of them were unsuccessful.
Large mammals, in general, have proven difficult to reproduce. In 2001, a Massachusetts company attempted to clone the endangered wild Asian bull. He died of dysentery two days later. Two years later, they took DNA from a long-dead bull and implanted it into surrogate cows.
In 30 attempts, only two “objects” were fertilized. One of them was healthy, and the second was born with half the normal weight and was euthanized. But even after one success, the experts remained skeptical.
“I strongly disagree that these clones are ‘normal’ just because they survived the postnatal period and look normal,” said Rudolf Jaenisch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, noting that many clones that initially appear normal develop serious health problems and they die prematurely.
Even if your would-be illegal clone didn’t drop dead and be chased by a torch-wielding mob of people who have already denounced such experiments, this little Frankenstein of futurism might be just as monstrous.
The cloning process appears to have disrupted normal genetic functioning,” says a 1999 study of a deformed calf clone published in The Lancet.
Clones were already known to typically die shortly before or shortly after birth, but the researchers also noted that this process is likely to cause long-term abnormalities, a fact that “should be taken into account when discussing reproductive cloning in humans,” warned study leader Dr. Jean-Paul Renard.
The unfortunate calf clone died at the age of seven weeks from severe anemia – iron deficiency. At autopsy, scientists found that the animal’s lymphatic system was almost completely undeveloped. In other studies, mice that initially appeared normal suddenly “became grotesquely fat.” In 2001, researchers told The Times that although cloning is an exact copy of DNA, gene expression is directly affected, and “random errors” can occur at any time.
“When cloning, you’re asking the egg to be reprogrammed in a few minutes, or at most a few hours,” explained MIT researcher Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch. A natural process that usually takes months or years, so compressed that copy errors just pile up. So , even if your clone survived infancy and thrived for a short time, things can go wrong at any moment.”
Your clone is unlikely to be able to develop the super strength or megalomania needed to take over the world – although, given the likelihood of large-scale genetic mutations, anything is possible. The real threat your clone could pose to humanity is that its altered DNA could end up in the human germline, negatively affecting your descendants for centuries to come.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a germline mutation is when changes in an organism’s sex cell, sperm or egg, become part of the DNA of the offspring.
As mentioned, since human cloning has proven difficult due to the nature of human germ cells, it can be assumed that gene editing technology such as CRISPR can be used in your quest for a clone by modifying that cell to make it easier to work with.
But interfering with this process can lead to genetic changes in your clone that can be passed on to its offspring, according to the journal Ethics, Medicine and Public Health.
Thus, if your self-actualization experiments lead to some catastrophic error—say, the mutation of antisocial and psychopathic personality traits—this genetic gambit could become a permanent feature of many future people. If you think one bad seed can’t do much harm, consider that the Mongol Emperor Genkis Khan plundered so much that today every 200th man on earth is a direct descendant of this brutal and efficient warlord.
Clones often appear in whole groups. Depending on the technique used, the creation of a clone may require the implantation of two clones in the female uterus, similar to how monozygotic twins are formed naturally.
“Gene cloning” is all the rage these days, perhaps because it doesn’t involve creating a breathing creature with sad eyes that will make you question your choice. This more humane process involves taking a piece of DNA and putting it inside the bacterial cell’s DNA, which acts as a natural little replication factory. This technique has helped develop vaccines and antigen tests, such as the one that detects COVID-19.
However, Dolly the Sheep and other mammals were obtained through reproductive cloning. The most advanced approach is called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT. This uses an electric current to fuse an adult sperm with an egg that has had its nucleus removed.
But since removing the human nucleus from an egg has proved so difficult without destroying the cell’s ability to grow, you and your clone may have to resort to the older method, in which the fertilized embryo is simply split (as is the case with identical twins) and both are implanted in surrogate mother’s uterus. Often in science, relying on mother nature helps achieve the goal. But it could also mean that your clone will have its own creepy clone.
In the world of cloning, there is a concept called therapeutic cloning that avoids some of the deeper ethical issues where one could simply clone body parts on a “choice of choice” basis.
This technique involves obtaining stem cells, which can be obtained from a cloned embryo. Stem cells are special and ironically called “non-specialized” because they can self-renew themselves by cell division and can be used to grow any tissue or organ you want.
This technology could be used to treat many debilitating diseases, such as diabetes, where a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin properly, allowing blood sugar to run wild in the body, causing a cascade of unpleasant complications.
Thirty-four million Americans had diabetes in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s one in ten people in the US. Advances in stem cell cloning could theoretically mean that your own genetically identical donor organs could be available – and your body wouldn’t reject them. Pancreatic cloning alone would almost certainly save the life of someone you know.
If you legally got away with cloning yourself and somehow got around the problem of raising your own clone from infancy, then the world of horse polo actually proves that cloned animals can form effective and cohesive teams.
In 2016, during a polo match in Buenos Aires, a man named Adolfo Cambiaso won on six different horses. Only they were not entirely different horses. They were all identical clones, each bearing Quarteter’s name.
Polo is like “hockey on horseback” and many players change horses during the game. But imagine if LeBron James got tired or injured, his coach could just replace him with another LeBron James with completely fresh feet. Or, heck, how about an all-LeBron team? Who could win?
That’s the idea, and unlike horse racing, where the practice is banned, cloning has been completely accepted in the polo world. Many experts predicted that cloned horses would be inferior, but Cambiaso won his first match against these replicant mares in 2013 and appears to have proven the scientists wrong. It’s also a proof of concept given that six different horses were born healthy enough to compete at a high level in sports.
Modern scientific achievements always remain a “black box” for the layman. This information asymmetry is alleged to have allowed scammers to steal the cloning star.
In 2004, a South Korean scientist published a paper in the journal Science in which he claimed to have cloned human embryos using stem cells. The following year, he claimed to have created embryos from a combination of eggs and various other body cells, seemingly solving the technical problem of human cloning. All this turned out to be a scam.
In 2006, a fertility doctor named Panagiotis Zavos claimed that he implanted cloned embryos into five different women. In 2009, the same doctor, working in a “secret lab” in the Middle East, advertised a Discovery Channel documentary and claimed to have implanted 11 cloned embryos into four more women.
Then, in 2021, a woman named Diana White accused a kind doctor of implanting her own sperm when she came to his fertility clinic in Kentucky in 1988. White’s lawsuit alleges that Zavos did not have a medical degree or license at the time, and DNA testing confirms that he is the father of the child.
White also claims that she once personally took a sperm sample from Zavos and he insisted for her to wear in a bra for warmth until she gets to her gynecologist’s office. The rogue doctor denies everything, but also provided no evidence for his many cloning claims.
Everyone knows that the brothers-technologists are leading a rather exciting space race. Less well known is their sudden investment in human longevity research. After decades of doctors treating aging as the career-destroying pseudoscience long pointed out by Aubrey De Grey, suddenly Earth‘s most titanic rulers are taking seriously the suggestion that aging isn’t inevitable.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and famed billionaire technology investor Peter Thiel are pouring money into companies that can “solve the problem of death.” This is good news for all who currently consider themselves mortal.
“Now millions of people will not see death if they want to,” says James Strowl, director of the Radical Life Extension Coalition. According to him, the human body, maintained in perfect condition, can live a maximum of 125 sober years, but it is clear that many of these decades will be lost due to decrepitude.
Longevity companies are mostly focused on intervention at the cellular or DNA level. The discovery in 2018 that naked mole rats practically do not age, along with the supposedly successful life extension of laboratory mice, revived hopes for immortality.
Appropriate human trials are already underway, and one CEO who took a dose of his own drug claims to be “younger” by 30 years. Anyone who has published information about a breakthrough in human cloning can expect a call asking if this achievement applies to the suddenly flared search for the fountain of youth.
The scientists who cloned Dolly the Sheep gained worldwide fame after their shocking announcement in 1996. But they probably didn’t expect an avalanche of requests from heartbroken families looking to bring loved ones back from the dead.
Dolly didn’t become famous because she was the first clone – she wasn’t. According to Gizmodo, this honor belongs to a sea urchin in 1885. However, Dolly became the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.
Many mourners quickly realized the human implications, and Dolly’s creators at PPL Therapeutics suddenly found themselves “inundated with requests” to replicate their radical success in humans, reports the Mirror.
The former managing director of Dolly’s lab, Dr. Ron James, described one such letter: “…a guy’s girlfriend died a couple of weeks before he was due to get married, and he [asked] can we clone her? Answer: theoretically it is possible, but you will get a tiny baby who will be 18 or 20 years younger than your girlfriend.”
American billionaire John Sperling, however, has successfully made the lives of some pet-lost families more beautiful with his hilariously titled Genetic Savings and Cloning venture, reports The Guardian. The company copied six cats for $50,000 each. The fee was then reduced to a bargain price of $32,000. However, Sperling’s venture failed to clone the dogs, and this proved fatal. GS&C went out of business in 2006, according to NPR.
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