Friday, January 18, 2008

I'd Like to Clone Myself

Doctor clones human embryo from his own skin cell is the title of an article from TimesOnLine. It begins:

"A human embryo has been cloned from a named person for the first time, in an experiment that also advances research aimed at creating replacement tissue that is genetically matched to individual patients. One of three cloned embryos created by Stemagen Corp carries DNA from a skin cell donated by Samuel Wood, a fertility doctor who is the California-based company’s founder."

The photo is from BBC and shows the developing blastocele of Dr. Wood. Imagine the pleasure of looking at yourself growing and developing right before your own eyes! What a precious moment. Of course, Dr. Wood had to terminate himself due to ethics laws, but, in a nod to Dickens, what might have been would be fascinating. You could be there at your 'own' birth, looking at 'yourself' and hearing 'your' crying. Younger folks already know that sound as their parent's videocams recorded the event for them.

Surely in future times, when religious zealots are not as forceful in our society, human cloning will be routine. What interesting science answers could be found regarding the so-called nature vs. nurture theory. How would the environment shape the cloned child? How would I have grown differently than my black and white childhood photos show me? How would my personality be shaped by different parents and childhood friends?

How would my body be different from not having suffered through chicken pox, mumps, measles and the various strains of flu? Would I be as muscular as I am, having grown up in the 40's and 50's when I walked and rode my bike everywhere? When we played out-of-doors all day long and into the twilight, only coming in to eat. Or would I be a couch potato, lying on a soft chair, using just my fingers on my GameBoy?

Would my personality be greatly different than during the post-war era when boys and girls played games outdoors and made up rules and argued and compromised about rule-breakers? When we invented stuff from scraps of wood in the garage? When we met new kids on a daily basis as we rode our bikes in packs to find other packs of kids roaming around.

Surely my clone would have much better opportunities in school than I because teachers these days are much better prepared to present meaningful lessons, rather than reading aloud paragraph after paragraph in some dull textbook.

I ought to stop the dreaming because the older 'I' may not live to see the rest the life of my cloned-self, especially his adulthood. Yet I would hope that he would be a caring man to his wife and children; that he would have made long-lasting friendships along the way; that he would stand up for the weak and downtrodden; that he would speak up for the voiceless; and that he would be satisfied at the end of his life that he lived it well.

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