View Full Version : Human Cloning

8th Aug 2001, 15:09
Well guys what do we think ?

Given what happened to Dolly the sheep (clone a 6-year-old sheep and you get exactly that - a fully formed six-year-old sheep (DUH - what did they expect :rolleyes: ) ) this has gotta be the biggest can of worms for some time.

There's a plentiful supply of new human beings from normal unskilled labour - absolutely no need (except selfishness) for any more of the buggers. :mad: :mad: :mad:

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: Grainger ]

SLF 999
8th Aug 2001, 15:16
We humans are very good at meddling in things that we dont fully understand and this is one of those things.
I dread to think of the full implications of what could be produced and the problems that will be associated with the clones.
Leave cloning humans well alone !

tony draper
8th Aug 2001, 16:04
I don't see what the problem is,we had the same sort of hand wringing and the name Frankenstein being bandied about when the first heart transplant took place and the first test tube children.
One thing for sure, if its scientificly possible it will be done somewhere,sometime it matters not one wit what the church, government, philosophers or anybody else says especialy if there is money to be made out of human cloning.
Nature has been producing clones for millions of years ,thats all monozygotic twins are.
May not be that bad a idea having a spare you in the freezer in case of emergencies.
Seriously, I honestly don't see why this should be a problem.
I would imagine that anyone wealthy enough to have a clone of themselves will be wealthy enough to raise them to be decent human beings, the problem our society is suffering from is people who are completly incapable of being good parents dropping numerous kids in the traditional manner.

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

8th Aug 2001, 17:14
Personally, I don't approve of this, but hey chaps, Tony's right: It's gonna happen.

Sooner or later, overty or coverty, somebody or some organsation, somewhere in the world, is going to fund this research.

Technological progress, for good or ill, is an inevitability, just as it was when we first started using flint tools.

Personally, I'd rather it were done under our reasonably open and at least parially accountable system. That way we might at least have SOME semblance of control over this process, and have a chance of making sure it is used for beneficial purposes.

A 'blanket ban' will lead nowhere, and won't work anyway.

IMHO Rather like most 'blanket bans' really.... :D :D :rolleyes:

Whom do you want doing this...??

The Rev Moon.... :eek:

The Columbian Drug Cartels... :eek: :eek:

......or us??

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: swashplate ]

8th Aug 2001, 19:03
drapes, swash:

No argument with either of you - technology can't be uninvented etc.

What I really object to is the amount of resources - science, medial technology - being expended on what is essentially a non-problem. As I said with over six billion :eek: humans already the last thing we need is more of the bleeders.

More to the point if the effort were directed towards real problems: AIDS, etc.

Ooops silly me - of course it's mainly poor people who have AIDS and affluent westerners who want designer babies as fashion accessories. :mad: :mad: :mad:

The Mistress
8th Aug 2001, 19:41
Don't like the idea at all. Providing childless couples with a baby is one thing, but what's the next step? I have no doubt that there will be a next step.

Maybe tinpot dictators/royals will clone their firstborn offspring so that if one goes sick/is assassinated, another can take their place? Not too far fetched.

I can feel a script for the next James Bond movie coming on!

What if clones meet? What is the emotional impact on someone who learns he is not a natural individual/unique, but "factory" made? Test tube/IVF births are very different to clones.

Who knows, the possibilities are endless and perhaps, worrying.

Shades of "Boys From Brazil".

Tartan Gannet
8th Aug 2001, 19:58
I agree with Swashplate, and Tony Draper, once the technology is available somebody is going to use it. You cant put the toothpaste back in the tube. I have no problem with the concept of Human Clones, indeed I can see some benefits. However I would far rather it was controlled by some government agency than run for profit by some multinational.

On a slightly flippant side I can think of some on JB that I most certainly would NOT wish to see cloned and Im sure they would hate the idea of a whole flock of Tartan Gannets.

[ 08 August 2001: Message edited by: Tartan Gannet ]

Squawk 8888
9th Aug 2001, 02:52
LOL at the paranoia.

SLF 999, if you think human clones are going to cause trouble, shouldn't we also ban identical twins?

Grainger- so you want us to solve problems like AIDS and other diseases. How do you expect these problems to be solved if researchers aren't allowed to do their jobs? Most of the big advances right now are being made with cloned tissue, which one day will replace donor organs with the grow-your-own variety. And who are you to dictate what projects are worthy enough to justify the way other people use their own resources? If I think your next steak dinner or new stereo is "wasteful" does that give me the right to ban them?

Mistress, tinpot dictators/royals are always producing replacement heirs- Idi Amin had dozens of kids. Fat load of good it did him.

Tartan, do you really want the minds that gave us Railtrack, the postal service and JAA to have control of the cloning process? That would truly be a "Frankenstein" scenario. For-profit research has given us new medicines, electricity, telecommunications, aviation and lots of other good stuff. Government-run research gave us the atomic bomb, biological warfare and zyklon gas. Which would you prefer?

tony draper
9th Aug 2001, 03:06
Lot of truth in that, the hand wringers would have had heart transplants banned in its infancy, had they had their way.
One of the reasons given against cloning on the famous people giving their opinions on stuff today, was the risk of deformity will be greater,of course it will and always will be unless they are allowed to experiment and perfect the techniques.
It could turn into another vast industry that this country will miss out on again, I dont mean just human cloning, the whole gamut of genetic engineering, our people have their hands tied for no good reason than a sop to the luvies and the church.

9th Aug 2001, 13:22
In science fiction there are certain things on which we have to agree to suspend disbelief.

Faster-than-light travel is one: whether it's hyperspace, wormholes or warp drive, we don't look too hard at the details because without it there would be no story.

Cloning is another one: in stories about cloning, the clone always develops at an accelerated rate - so you get a fully formed adult within a few days or weeks. Again, the mechanism (incubation tank, genetic manipulation) doesn't matter - we suspend disbelief because a story about a clone that takes 21 years to grow up isn't much more exciting than a story about someone having a normal child (or twins) the normal way.

So cloning is a yawn. Saddam Hussein already has offspring ready to take over. I'm not worried about these forms of abuse.

What we're left with is just another form of procreation, and that brings me back to my original point (where's Winston when you need him ?) that the last thing we need to be doing is to put more effort into producing more humans. Lowering the birth rate would be more like it. :mad:

The Mistress
9th Aug 2001, 15:27

Twins are a natural phenomena. Clones are far from it.

It is hardly 'paranoid' for people to express concern over technology that is so clearly open to abuse. Have you seen the news footage surrounding this story? There are THOUSANDS of VERY concerned people out there. Some of them want to stop the Italian chap in his tracks. I personally have no qualms about using genetic engineering to find cures for disease or replacement body parts. Cloning whole, live human beings is another matter. Until legislation is thoroughly tightened up I personally would prefer not to bring cloned babies into the world.

I cite the recent case of the total shambles over adopting baby twins through the internet. The law was ambiguous and, as a result, half a dozen adults have had their lives ruined and the babies themselves have been shunted from one set of "parents" to another until they were dizzy. Mistakes DO happen.

In cloning, boundaries must be set as soon as possible, before more babies are manufactured.

I used the tinpot dictator as a flippant example, but as you mention Idi Amin - a fat lot of good he did to his people. How many millions died or were tortured before his 'dynasty' was removed? Nutters like him love technology like this. It just wasn't available at the time. Hitler tried to achieve his goals through an Aryan breeding programme. Cloning would certainly have sped the process up somewhat!! There's no paranoia in reading our own history - which has a tendency to repeat itself.

I'm sure it could prove to be a very lucrative industry. Let's have the legislation to go with it first, please.

tony draper
9th Aug 2001, 15:50
Well setting boundries is abit different from banning it, I'm a firm beliver in nurture rather than nature.
No reason why if someone like Hitler had children they would not turn out to be perfectly decent human being's.
I think we will find when it is done that the clones may look the same but they will be individuals the same as you or me, we are the sum total of our experiences, we don't come into the world preprogrammed.
I don't know why we all pretend there is something holy or special about human life when its patently obvious that there isn't , read any newspaper or watch any news broadcast,there are six billion of us swarming over this planet now, human life is the cheapest commodity there is, unless your one of the few at the top of the food chain.

The Mistress
9th Aug 2001, 16:05
Oh this should be good!

This is Tony Draper lighting the blue touch paper whilst The M retires to her nuclear bunker and awaits the Catholic fallout :D

tony draper
9th Aug 2001, 16:18
I didn't say I approved of the human condition I stated, its just a fact, we happily sit back and except 3000+ deaths on the roads each year , or as the acceptable body count, for our freedom to own cars.
Yet we go into paroxisms of rage and grief at the death of one princess, I understand this but I can see the irrationality behind it,one death is a tradgety ten thousand is a statistic,as they say, and its true, and its insane.

9th Aug 2001, 17:39
There is a well supported theory that the world is locked in the final battle between man and the microbe. The essential difference between the two is that man has a limited ability to adapt his environment to his own needs, and the microbe can adapt to the environment. By definition it would seem that the microbe has to win eventually.

Looking at most technological advances made by man, there has always been a benefit, at least to some, but there has also been a cost. The problem has always been that the true cost is never completely apparent at the time.

A simple, but possibly worrying example is the use of anti-biotics which have arguably been one of the most beneficial developments in the history of civilisation. Now we are faced with bacteria which are immune to anti-biotics and there is now a strain of TB in this country which appears to be incurable. Who knows what the eventual cost will be.

I believe that what worries most people about genetic engineering in general, and cloning in particular, is apparent arrogance of those advocates who refuse to address the possible social and medical costs. Most of them are probably not qualified to assess all of the costs because they impact on the very basis of human life, both physical and spiritual. However logical we all claim to be, we are all governed by our basic emotions and the strongest of these is fear – fear of death, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of my next medical and AFR.

For me, the biggest problem with cloning is that it is irreversible, as TG so eloquently puts it, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, and the time taken for unexpected costs to appear will be very long indeed.

From a selfish point of view I won’t be around to worry about it but I am from the generation which has enjoyed many of the benefits of technology without having to pay many of the costs, some of which are now becoming all too apparent e.g global warming (assuming it really is due to human activity). My kids will have to pay these costs and I am worried for them.

I agree however that it will eventually happen and all that I can hope is that it will encourage all of us to take an honest look at our priorites in life – flying obviously being first for most of us ;) !

9th Aug 2001, 19:19
While I myself enjoy technology, in the issue of human cloning I see no advantage of doing a complete human.

Some say we could clone ourselves, and have the organs available to us as we age.

But there is that counterpoint that a clone has to grow. Don't think anyone except those in their early years have time to wit for replacements to grow.

I'd like to think we could clone organs themselves, possibly find a way to make them grow quickly (has it's own issues) and that would be a better alternative, however that still doesn't help those who want to live on, as I haven't seen a successful brain transplant just yet :D

Im all the hollywood cloning stories, they have our personality and memories; rubbish.

Memory and for that matter personality are due to the neural connections formed as we grow up, and due to that growing environment.
Which is why there is always a device needed to "transfer" that into the 30 hours old, fully formed clone ...

Sorry Mistress, But identical Twins, which I have to say ARE the nearest thing to clones. If one takes the DNA and clones it, you would have an identical twin genetically, but man made, the difference is how it happened and the label.

For the memory/personality thing, exact twins prove the point made above, most have differing personalities, etc.

It will happen, the cap is off the bottle.

Would I like a clone of myself? Naah, I have enough problems hehe ...

Tricky Woo
9th Aug 2001, 20:05
I'm intrigued by the general perception of 'unnaturalness' regarding human cloning.

If some wise quack decides to clone yours truly, then I assume there would be a Dolly-like extract of my DNA, which would be mucked about for a while in a test tube. A spare, unfertilised(?) egg would then be found in the back of the lab fridge. The existing DNA in that egg would be aborted, (nice word to wind up the anti's) and then replaced with the Tricky's DNA. Hey, presto! We have a wee Tricky embryo.

This egg is then placed into a surrogate mother's uterus, and the 'unnaturalness' ends at that point. There's no shagging involved, but you can't have everything.

From thereon, we have a very 'natural' situation: Pregnant, unmarried mother, vomit in the morning, wheezing upstairs, stretch marks, etc, etc. The faux-Tricky is born, grows up, gets his first snog, and then we've got yet another handsome lad shagging his way around the world.

I don't see what the problem is all about. I don't see what the ethical problem is. I don't see the unnaturalness of this, when compared to kidney transplants and permed hair. I don't see the 'emotional' difficulties that a faux-Tricky would suffer; there are plenty of people who find out that they're adopted, or even Welsh, and they manage to survive.

(Tune-in next time for my evolutionary view of cloning...)


9th Aug 2001, 20:35

Main problem is that the telomeres don't re-grow, so when you clone a 40-year-old you'll get exactly that: a one-year-old baby but with 40 years of aging already under its belt if you see what I mean.

Otherwise, you're right - it's no big deal, just another form of procreation but goodness knows there's enough of that going on already :eek:

Tricky Woo
9th Aug 2001, 20:48
Ok, so using the Dolly technique, the mileometer doesn't reset itself: "Mutton dressed as a lamb", you say?

I seem to remember, during the Horizon documentary on Dolly, that this was due to the choice of cells used, i.e. the cloning technique happened to work best with knackered cells. There was a BIG HINT by the Jock scientists that using other types of cells would get around that particular problem. Said Jocks were a wee bit tight-lipped on the matter, though.

Well they would be, wouldn't they?

As a digression, I believe that research into techniques for resetting telomeres is a major industry now, seeing as it promises practical immortality to human kind. Then you'll REALLY have something to complain about. I've got my name on the NHS waiting list for THAT one, let me tell you.


[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: Tricky Woo ]

tony draper
10th Aug 2001, 05:46
Imortality would be a interesting experiment completly impratical as things stand.
If you or everyone could expect say a thousand years barring gross mechanical damage of active life disease free, would the power that be, be able to persuade young men to sit in the front of fast pointy things and put themselves in harms way or hang a m16 over their shoulder and march off to war, with a good chance of throwing all that time away.
Do you think young men would think they are immortal as they do now, up to the age of about four hundred.
You'd also have to think very carefully about choosing a life's partner.
Probably be like it is now, the first two hundred would drag past, the next four hundred would move a bit swifter, and the last four hundred would flash past.
"Bloody hell is it the next century again again already"

[ 10 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

10th Aug 2001, 09:06
The cheapest thing on the face of the planet is human beings. You can try to wipe them out totally, kill 'em by the millions but it does no good, they'll just bounce right back, endlessly procreating, as perennial as grass. Clones or otherwise, they're still the cheapest thing on the planet. Politics and religion alone prove that, with every headline.

We gotta be some cosmic practical joke that went badly wrong. There's no other explanation!

10th Aug 2001, 12:39
As Dave Lister once said:

Perhaps we're some kind of planetary virus: that's why the other planets keep well away from us -

"Earth? don't go there - it's got Humans. They're contagious !! "