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Biotech

A Giant Step in Cloning 239

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-barrel-full-of-clones dept.
mernil writes "The Independent reports: "A technical breakthrough has enabled scientists to create for the first time dozens of cloned embryos from adult monkeys, raising the prospect of the same procedure being used to make cloned human embryos."
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A Giant Step in Cloning

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  • hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:56AM (#21348189) Homepage Journal
    now all we need to work on is cloning typewriters, and we'll be set!
    • by Daimanta (1140543)
      Well that, and a million years.
    • Re:hmmmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by tacocat (527354) <tallison1 AT twmi DOT rr DOT com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @10:06AM (#21348679)

      I was thinking more like .. Now I can finally get my very own Angelina Jolie, Rachael Welch, Ingred Bergman.. Whatever suits my fancy

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by somersault (912633)
        Yeah, after you've raised them as your daughters o_0 they still don't have accelerated aging, or accelerated education ;)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by davidsyes (765062)
          Really, ethically, I think, these are still beings that should NOT be manufactured for sexual exploitation reasons. In this life, if you can't GET sex (consensually, hopefully), then existentially you probably "unearned" it in this or a previous lifetime.

          It's one thing to joke about sex, and another when people get fantastical ideas of having organic clones of humans for sexual gratification. For those wanting human clones for sexual reasons, go get a real doll, or pray for a neural dream-controlling simula
        • Re:hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

          by rrkap (634128) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:47PM (#21354417) Homepage

          Yeah, after you've raised them as your daughters o_0 they still don't have accelerated aging, or accelerated education ;)

          You're right, not everybody has the patience of Woody Allen...

        • by Rix (54095)
          The poster wanted them for their education.
      • Re:hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @10:28AM (#21348869)
        you can also be rejected by clones of Jessica Alba and Halle Berry. Whatever suits your fancy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by abes (82351)
      No no no. We already have Shakespeare, and we all know that is all monkeys are good at. Never understood why people were so intent on recreating Shakespeare. Plus, I believe all monkeys are part of the WGA, so it would be pointless right now anyways.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @08:58AM (#21348207)
    I for one welcome our Shakespeare-typing overlords.
  • by spamking (967666) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:00AM (#21348213)

    If Michael Jackson is cloned, is it against the law for him to play with himself as a child?

    some of these are good [biofact.com]

    • by kalpaha (667921)
      Ok, explain to me this: there are a million variations of a joke around the 'net that are based on the same punchline: "For making an obscene clone fall". As a non-native english speaker I have no idea what's so funny about that, and nothing in the definition of the words obscene, clone or fall would seem to explain it. Searching for any combination of the phrase just yields the same old joke, repeated again and again, without any mention of what the origins are. Here's a star trek flavour of the joke.

      Dr.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EaglemanBSA (950534)
        It's a pun, supposed to sound like "obscene phone call"
      • by Spokehedz (599285)
        The joke, "Making an obscene clone fail" is a play on words of the phrase "Making an obscene phone call". the 'ph' sound makes an F sound. Phone sounds like 'fone'.

        An obscene phone call is when someone calls up and starts to breath heavy into the phone (perverts) or when someone calls up and starts talking in a very sexual manner.

        Now that I have squeezed every last bit of funny from the joke, it's time to get back to work.
      • by davidsyes (765062)
        And, if you digress into Spoonerisms, the one that started or woke me up to doing them was by a friend in the 7th grade when he said:

        "Miss on you Pister. You aren't so MUCKING FUTCH. Why don't you go to your jack yard and BACK off?"
  • one problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:00AM (#21348217)
    They still haven't solved the #1 problem with cloning though: why would I want another one of me? My exact genes aren't that great as is.
    • by dintech (998802)
      Your genetic code? No, probably not. Barbera Streisand? That's another matter altogether.
    • Scarlet (Score:5, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:19AM (#21348321)

      why would I want another one of me?


      You're thinking about this cloning thing all wrong. Think Scarlet Johannson.
    • even though it does not create any new information.
    • Re:one problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:28AM (#21348373) Homepage
      Replacement parts.

      Grow a clone without a brain to avoid the ethical implications. Keep it safely stored (frozen in liquid nitrogen?). If you need a transplant of anything you can get a new organ, fully compatible, and even better than before (lungs undamaged by smoke/contamination, etc).

      Might work as a way of living longer. Heart is not doing so well when you're 70? Replace it with one from a 20 year old clone.

      I could see modified clones being used. A gender swapped clone, a clone with blue eyes, fixed genetics to avoid diseases and cancer, etc. If you could move your brain to a new clone and keep this up long enough I could see people building a "perfect self", by fixing all the defects in each new iteration that they found in the previous body.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash (241428)

        Given the brain manages the body, it seems improbable that you can get away with creating a brainless clone.

        (Unless you're talking about creating Republicans! Arf arf!)

        No, but seriously I think the technical challenges created by somehow genetically modifying a human to have no brain or a significantly modified zero-consciousness brain are far, far, greater than those that were up against cloning. I suspect that cloning helps us create brainless organ-donors in the same way that the wheel helped us cre

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          No, but seriously I think the technical challenges created by somehow genetically modifying a human to have no brain or a significantly modified zero-consciousness brain are far, far, greater than those that were up against cloning. I suspect that cloning helps us create brainless organ-donors in the same way that the wheel helped us create space rockets.

          Why, this even happens naturally. People are born with all sorts of horrific malformations, some of which include no brain, and probably being born as a ve

          • Well, yeah, some are born brainless (after living in the womb with the mother's life support mechanism in operation, and with most growth designed to run without brain oversight), but how many continue to live and grow outside of the womb? Even if we were to, as an experiment, put such a baby on a life support system, how likely is it that the body would develop? I assume that the body's growth outside of the womb is in large part due to mechanisms controlled by the brain.
            • Reminder to self: Breathe in. To Do. Cause stomach muscles to pulsate. Reminder to self: Breathe out. OMG!!!!, Atria contract, venticles contract, atria contract, ventricles contract. That was close! What was I doing again? Oh yes, Reminder to self: Breathe in, breathe out.
      • I could see modified clones being used. A gender swapped clone, a clone with blue eyes, fixed genetics to avoid diseases and cancer, etc. If you could move your brain to a new clone and keep this up long enough I could see people building a "perfect self", by fixing all the defects in each new iteration that they found in the previous body.

        So long as you're only fixing "defects", such as illnesses, cancer, etc. I think its a marvelous idea. But once you start talking about putting your brain in another body is a whole nother mess in itself because it trivializes the point of having a body in the first place. We may as well just be floating brains [wikipedia.org].

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Paradise Pete (33184)
          But once you start talking about putting your brain in another body is a whole nother mess in itself because it trivializes the point of having a body in the first place.

          Compared to your brain, which body it's in is a whole lot less important. Put your brain in a replacement body and it's still you, just with some weird body. But put a replacement brain in your body and you cease to be.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I think there's some psychological condition that some major burn victims have when they have to have complete facial reconstructive surgery, even if their new face doesn't appear horrific, getting used to someone else staring you back in the face in the mirror might be quite a shock to someone. Now imagine its their entire body that has changed.
      • by BigDogCH (760290) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:46AM (#21348507) Journal
        "Grow a clone without a brain............."

        The problem here is clear. What if I need a brain because of a stroke, head trauma, or something?

        The key here is clearly to keep the clone sedated, and do a nightly robocopy or rsync to keep it updated. Also, the clone should be stored offsite, probably in a fireproof vault.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Yoozer (1055188)

          The key here is clearly to keep the clone sedated, and do a nightly robocopy or rsync to keep it updated. Also, the clone should be stored offsite, probably in a fireproof vault.
          You insensitive clod! I have no mouth and I must scream!
        • by Intron (870560)
          No. It needs physical activity to keep healthy, but no mental activity or it will become independent. I suggest making it a postal worker.
        • Remember to poke some airholes in the vault.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by inviolet (797804)

          The problem here is clear. What if I need a brain because of a stroke, head trauma, or something?

          The key here is clearly to keep the clone sedated, and do a nightly robocopy or rsync to keep it updated. Also, the clone should be stored offsite, probably in a fireproof vault.

          Ah, but now you've got to answer the "transporter question": if you could duplicate yourself perfectly, would that duplicate be 'you'?

          Certainly the duplicate would insist that it was indeed 'you', because it genuinely thinks that it

          • by bsmoor01 (150458)
            Sure, it can be done.

            1 - Send person to be cloned into a coma.
            2 - Prepare clone (rsync brain)
            3 - Destroy original
            4 - Place clone in location where original was put into a coma (for continuity)
            5 - Wake up clone

            Bam! It's you.

            The only nitpick I see here is if you are a mind/body dualist.
          • by vadim_t (324782)

            Certainly the duplicate would insist that it was indeed 'you', because it genuinely thinks that it is. But, if we destroyed your original body, would your consciousness resume in the duplicate? Or would this-instance-of-you end, and someone exactly like you take over?

            My guess is that it wouldn't be me. I see it this way:

            Imagine you've duplicated your body and are now working on the brain. You assemble it neuron by neuron (ignore the impracticality for the sake of the argument). Will there be a point where y

      • by olman (127310)
        Might work as a way of living longer. Heart is not doing so well when you're 70? Replace it with one from a 20 year old clone.

        They'd have to figure out a way to "reset" your DNA/Telomerase/whatnot first. Otherwise you'll have a 20yr old heart that's (almost) as crappy as your 70yr old except for proper diet and blah.
      • by AVee (557523)

        Grow a clone without a brain to avoid the ethical implications.
        If you really believe that would avoid all ethical implications I suggest we remove your brain and see if the clone is any smarter.
        • by vadim_t (324782)

          If you really believe that would avoid all ethical implications I suggest we remove your brain and see if the clone is any smarter.

          You really don't see a difference between removing somebody's brain and growing a body that didn't have one in the first place?

          Do you then think there's something wrong with growing replacement parts (been done with ears for example)?

          What's the ethical difference between growing a new ear and growing a full set of organs, brain excluded?

      • by argStyopa (232550)
        Unfortunately, technology to grow the clones seems to be progressing much faster than your other 'miracle' techs: body freezing, or (most obviously) growing them without a brain (not possible, IMO).

        So the ethical question will remain: if we are CAPABLE of doing something, that doesn't mean that DOING it is ethical. Self-evident? Sure it is, but we stupid hairless apes can't even agree on the morality of convenience-killing our not-quite-born young, do you think we're ready to resolve the question about wh
    • by ookabooka (731013)
      Exactly, I mean you could be at risk for liver cancer, you know how hard it is to find a match for a new liver? A genetically identical clone could eventually have the same problem though probably at a later date than you. Why would you want a genetically identical clone. . .:-p

      I suppose someone super egotistical person would raise a clone of him/herself. Or if you lose a loved one this would be a way to replace them. . .scary stuff, hard to really think of a truly legitimate reason to actually need a clon
    • by rice_web (604109)
      No... but /mine/ are.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027)
      They still haven't solved the #1 problem with cloning though: why would I want another one of me? My exact genes aren't that great as is.

      If I ever need a kidney, I'd love to just be able to clone one of my originals. 0 chance of rejection!

      Not to mention that by the time we're socially ready for cloning people, we'll likely have enough genetic engineering around to customize the clones. "Yeah, um, I want a clone of me, but, you know, taller and with a better metabolism."

      And hey, sooner or later we'll get a
      • by davidsyes (765062)
        Inextricably, part of living REQUIRES dying. It is the height of selfishness and ludicrousness for some and not ALL to have life-extending capabilities. We already have over 5 billion people on THIS planet, and probably 1/2 don't get the nutrition enjoyed and taken for granted by less than 1/4 of the human population.

        Consider that embracing reincarnation is a way to begin to live life in a way that will earn you merits to a better, healthier, possibly wealthier future life.

        Besides, WHO -- government, corpor
    • by Upaut (670171)
      Well, many reasons. When you begin the cloning process, you could halt it and harvest the stem cells, to repair your damaged tissues. Have only half a liver? Put in a scaffold impregnated with the triggers for liver development, saturate it with the cells, and watch your liver grow into a virgin hunk of meat that can once again keep you alive. Of course if we got to the point the scaffold works that well, then you can clone pretty much any organ.

      So lets step back, and try another reason: Technology does no
  • Hmmm. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:07AM (#21348259) Journal
    How soon before we take some of the "icemans" cells and try to clone him? It may be interesting to see what has happened to man over the course of 5000 years. Of course that would require ignoring all ethical issues.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      hint: an iceman clone created and grown today will know as much about life 5000 years ago as you or I.

      However I do see us attempting to clone wooly mammoths and dodos and other extinct animals.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Hint: will they be stronger? Shorter (most likely)? what resistance to what diseases do they have? How fast do the learn? Are their unique biological systems in their bodies that we have lost (for example the appendix originally was thought to be about digestion, but now appears to be a major part of the immune system), etc. etc.
        That is life.

        The cloning of Mammoths and Dodo are already in the pipeline.
        • by Intron (870560)
          They are identical to the originals except for the craving for brains.
        • It has already been shown that descendants of traditionally short ethnicities grow taller when raised in the United States. That suggests that diet is far more significant than your genetic makeup.
          • by lymond01 (314120)
            It has already been shown that descendants of traditionally short ethnicities grow wider when raised in the United States.

            Fixed.
      • by risk one (1013529)

        However I do see us attempting to clone wooly mammoths and dodos and other extinct animals.
        Yes. We could put them in a zoo for people to see. Or better yet, some sort of theme park. We'd need an isolated island somewhere. We'd need two paleontologists, a chaos theorist, a lawyer and two kids to appraise the safety of the place. And we'd need some sort of hacker to set up the security systems, preferably with those unix systems with the pink boxes.
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairykrishna (740240) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:15AM (#21348297)
      Not that interesting - the humans 5000 years ago were basically identical to now. Only real differences are diet and lifestyle related
      • key word on that is "basically". How much do they differ? That is not known. If they do not differ much in 5K years (esp. in intelligence), then it bodes poorly for mankind. Afterall, a species that is stagnant will not adapt that well. OTH, if we made great jumps in intelligence, and can show exactly how we differ over time, than we have an idea of where man is headed.

        With all that said, there is more reason to believe that we are not "basically" the same. In current time, we appear to know a lot about v
        • by domatic (1128127)
          A certain base level of intelligence precludes many other forms of adaptation. Our current level of intelligence allows a subtropical adapted species to live inside the Arctic circle and it's been done for thousands of years. There are things nature can still throw at us like asteroid strikes and megavolcanoes but up to a certain level all those can do is "end civilization as we know it" not "exterminate humanity". Adaptation can only take place in response to unfriendly conditions that would otherwise m
        • by peragrin (659227)
          Man of 5k years ago built the pyramids. I don't think you will find a great change of intelligence since then. man of Today is better educated and learns more, but he is still just a man. Now Man of 15k years ago that would be interesting. At the point we started coming together to form villages/tribes man hasn't changed all that much.
      • by vertinox (846076)
        Not that interesting - the humans 5000 years ago were basically identical to now.

        Actually, there is some debate with that because of societal changes through "intelligent selection".

        Over the past 5,000 years humans have been killing off other humans based on predispositions. Hence, humans with certain qualities (usually criminals) have be systematically culled up until at least the 1800s when the death penalty was slowly replaced with imprisonment. Not to mention issues with religion and laws about sex pos
      • No they are not. Humans continue to evolve. Still Evolving, Human Genes Tell New Story [nytimes.com]
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      I believe that biologically we are no different from him, so we'd gain little there.

      It would be interesting though. Getting it past the religious types, now that would be tricky.

      I recognize the need for cloning and genetic manipulation. I'm rather hopeful that one day our species will get off this planet, but I am not hopeful it will be to another planet that quickly, Mars is a big job, we may not get to do it.

      More likely is that we will fragment into smaller groups occupying pretty big ships, and head off
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey0you0guy (1003040) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:14AM (#21348291)
    Here is the BBC News article since the original article seems to be down. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7094215.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Just because you CAN do something, it doesn't mean you SHOULD do something. I'm sure (or would like to believe) there was a spirited, well thought out debate on ethical issues, complete with people from all sides participating. I can't read the article to be sure because it appears to have been slashdotted.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rucs_hack (784150)
      I'm sure (or would like to believe) there was a spirited

      If there was a spirit, then it would be logical to assume it is the result of sentience. That being so, any clone of a human would have one. Any idea to the contrary is little more than the standard religious doctrine of 'hate that which is different', achieved by the simple mechanism of asserting that the target of that hate does not posses something required for acceptance by the group doing the hating.

      Did you know that the catholics debated for cent
      • by dylan_- (1661)

        Did you know that the catholics debated for centuries whether black people had souls?
        No, I didn't. Do you have a cite for this?
      • by presarioD (771260)
        If there was a spirit, then it would be logical to assume it is the result of sentience. That being so, any clone of a human would have one.

        Heh, but you have to admit the terrifying conclusion of such an assertion. If cloned human beings are manufactured one day and they act, live, breathe, behave just like anyone of us, including having religious worries/sensitivities, then that means that the act of acquiring a "spirit" is internal and not divinely ordained... GASP!

        Imagine a world after this makes a fr
        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          No, not really. It's what most people already believe. Or do you really think that nutjobs make up a significant portion of humankind?
          • by presarioD (771260)
            Or do you really think that nutjobs make up a significant portion of humankind?

            I'm a cynic so that's an affirmative. Install yourself on a comfortable chair at a busy point somewhere close to where you live, and observe people, really observe how they behave. Then pick up any newspaper and read the consequences...
        • by AVee (557523)

          If cloned human beings are manufactured one day and they act, live, breathe, behave just like anyone of us, including having religious worries/sensitivities, then that means that the act of acquiring a "spirit" is internal and not divinely ordained...

          That just really weird reasoning, the process of conception and the physical growth of an embryo after that are rather well know and documented, the process also is not all that different from cloning. So I really don't expect a clone to be ay different from a 'normal' human being. And I surely don't know how a clone is going to tell us anything new about "the act of aquiring a spirit".

          Frankly, I don't see the use of cloning humans at all, if we really need to have more of those we can just have more sex

          • by presarioD (771260)
            That just really weird reasoning, the process of conception and the physical growth of an embryo after that are rather well know and documented, the process also is not all that different from cloning. So I really don't expect a clone to be ay different from a 'normal' human being.

            Well tell that to something like (warning number being pulled out of my rear) 65% of the population on this planet that believes in some Diving Entity ordaining a spirit upon inception/birth/$insert_your_favorite_moment_here in
      • Any idea to the contrary is little more than the standard religious doctrine of 'hate that which is different'

        Yeah, because hatred doesn't exist outside of religion. [rolling of eyes]
        • by rucs_hack (784150)
          Yeah, because hatred doesn't exist outside of religion. [rolling of eyes]

          You are of course correct, but they have tended to be the standard bearers.
          • You are of course correct, but they have tended to be the standard bearers.

            Only because they're the originators of human conditioning. That only makes historical sense. So what about all the villainy done by atheists in the name of human progress? Mao and Stalin (both of whom killed more people in cold blood than Hitler) come to mind. What's your excuse for them?
      • by Bob-taro (996889)

        Did you know that the catholics debated for centuries whether black people had souls? And look how we treated them....

        Did you know that many atheists believed black people were "less evolved"?

  • by Wdomburg (141264) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:16AM (#21348307)
    1. Clone monkeys.
    2. Give them wings.
    3. Fly my pretties, fly!!! Fly! Fly! Fly!
  • You'd think two-thousand-year-old questions would generally be easy, but I'm still working on this one...

    On the day you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will will you do?

    --Gospel of Thomas
  • Not that huge step to be honest. They can create viable embryos easier, yay for them. However, they haven't been able to grow a baby monkey despite trying for 100 times so far.

    Tech has "some" room for refinement right there..
  • The world does need more human beings, the ol' fashion way is pretty inefficient, and of course reducing genetic variety is a good idea.
  • I've been thinking for some time now that sometime in the next 25 years we might be able to clone body parts, but to get good parts wouldn't you need/want a copy of your DNA that is good without too many errors (like photocopies of photocopies).

    Question for somebody out there? Should we invest in keeping a good copy of our DNA somewhere, a sample from youth or something?
    • The ingredient to the fountain of youth? As you age you have a 20 year old body waiting for you, have your brain transplanted, violá, you add 60 years to your life.

      Granted, your brain isn't completely wasted away...and we figure out how to transplant it...
  • If you clone, half of them must be evil?
    • If you clone, half of them must be evil?

      Actually, they come in groups of 6, and they're all commie, mutant traitors highly skilled in bootlicking.

      Now report to the nearest suicide booth, citizen.

      Trust The Computer. The Computer is Your Friend.
  • ... beside myself at the thought that this might happen.
  • To all those that think this would be great for cloning Natalie Portman/Angelina Jolie etc...

    You forget that you will have to wait till they grow up by which time you will be an old wrinkly.

    The genes used to clone your chosen celebrity will already be 30 years old(or whatever age the star is) when you clone them. Genes degrade over time. They also have various functions switched on and off through time. If a child is born with the genes of a 30 year old, this causes all sorts of physical problems whi

  • A cloned chimp would be a different individual from an electoral point of view, right?
  • I helped build that! (Score:4, Informative)

    by daoine (123140) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {3101hdaurom}> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:03PM (#21350827)
    I work for the company (CRi) that produced the polarized light imaging system (Oosight) that this guy credits for much of this new cloning success. In case anyone's interested the product website is here. [cri-inc.com] and has links to movies of actual monkey eggs being manipulated and having their original DNA removed.

    The basic principle is that the highly-ordered molecules on which the chromosomes are mounted are birefringent (they change the polarization-state of light), so if you know what the original polarization state was and if you can measure the state afterwards, then you can detect those molecules, even though they are transparent. As the BBC article says, this means you don't need to use toxic dyes to find them (which is obviously a bad idea, if you want the egg to actually survive the process).

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