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Cloned Cat Not a 'Carbon Copy' 480

bbsguru writes "When Texas A&M researchers announced the first Cloned Kitty about a year ago, everyone expected to see a Multiplicity-style pair of cats by now. Not so! The clone is genetically identical, but in many other ways totally a different cat. This CNN Story has details."
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Cloned Cat Not a 'Carbon Copy'

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  • by DarklordJonnyDigital ( 522978 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:57AM (#5133763) Homepage Journal
    It's both the same cat AND a totally different cat. You changed the results by observing them.
  • by amentia ( 142487 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:57AM (#5133764) Homepage
    Everything is not in the genes!
    • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:27AM (#5134156)
      Nope ... they have different birth dates, so their star signs are different. Anyone who reads womens' magazines knows star signs are far more important than genes (But Levi's Rule :-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:40AM (#5134518)
      Rainbow is reserved. Cc is curious and playful. Rainbow is chunky. Cc is sleek.

      Hardly surprising. My translation is:

      Rainbow is an old cat. Cc is a kitten. Rainbow is chunky. Cc is still growing.
      • Obviously they compiled the new cat as:
        cc -O
    • One thing that most of the general public (and appatently people in the field??) don't realize that there occurs genetic drift when cloning organisms. This has been known by botanist when cloning plants. One thing that you "don't do" is clone clones. Its analagous to photocopying a photocopy over and over again. Also, there is simple deteriation of genetic goodies over time. And one cannot discredit the environment, etc.

      Bah, cloning is only good for important [secretsofahomegrower.com] herbs.
      • by kirkjobsluder ( 520465 ) <kirk@nosPaM.jobsluder.net> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:11AM (#5135127) Homepage
        One thing that you "don't do" is clone clones.

        Bwah? At it's base cloning is basically asexual reproduction of an organism. Making clones of clones is something we did all the time back in my misspent youth training to be a microbiologist. It is something I still do by giving cuttings of "shamrock" and sweedish ivy to friends and relatives. Basically for organisms that already propigate asexually cloning is as simple as taking a cutting and giving it a fresh source of food. There is nothing magical in sexual reproduction that insures good copies. In fact, a large number of mutations are known to only occur during sexual reproduction. Overall, somatic-line cloning is preferred if you want a large number of basically genetically identical individuals.

        Of course it is obvious that the clone is not identical. A basic equation in quantitative genetics is:

        phenotype = genetics + environment + developmental noise.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ok, so an identical genetic copy of a cat won't have the same environmental characteristics (what some would consider the "soul" of the cat), but what questions does this raise about our physical appearance?

      I was under the impression that an identical genetic makeup would be physically (as in the characteristics, e.g. hair colour) would be the same as it is the genes that make that decision. After reading the artical, this is now not possible...

      So, if it was just a delusion that genes decide our hair colour etc., what is it that does actually decides this? I understand that the genetic makeup can contain a gene makeup from a previous generation, that is not taken physically in its current incarnation...Does this mean that there is another randomness added to the choice? That not all genes are used, but a random choice of the "available" genes (similar to the random choice when me and my misses gets together to make a little todler) and creates the physical characteristics as such...Or does it involve slightly more complex algorithms whereby the random choice of genes is repeated throughout the growth period (hair changes colour after all, eyes can too) to create a rather more unique model?

      This latter ramble seems to make sense if you consider someone that has a genetic makeup that gives it the possibility to develop some horrible disease, but doesn't develop it early in its life, but later...It just so happens that on x date, my internal random gene choice has selected x, y and z genes that, unfortunately for me, has started the chain reaction to cancer(or whatever)...Or is it just one choice of random genes that chooses cancer, maybe it is a sequence of choices that leads to the full-blown illness?

      Wow, so from a simple makeup code, we can develop into an infinite (or near as dammit to be of any import) number of possibilites...So, is genetic research really worth pursuing? I mean, if you change a gene to remove the possibility of disease x, are you not running the risk of creating a (possibly)more dangerous disease y, and in doing so, through natural reproduction, replicate this to a point where you kill humanity...?All in the name of achieving what? A faster route to a "naturally perfect" human? Nature will eventually choose our best destiny, whether be extince or "perfected." We could even end up making things longer, especially as now, as far as I can tell, we have no idea how our physical characteristics are chosen...

      Another thought: Our first gene choice in life is made, then, through life other choices are made, but this doesn't necessarily mean that we would change instantly hair colour, merely that a taint will arrive. If that same choice is made repeatedly, then sure your hair will gradually change...

  • Impossible to... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:58AM (#5133768) Homepage Journal

    This pretty much shows that it will be impossible to use cloning (as we know it today) to raise the dead.

    However a human teleporter and a little sniffing on the transmission line would probably do the trick. However, the two individuals would not be exposed to the same surroundings and diverge pretty soon.

    • by dubstop ( 136484 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:31AM (#5134033)
      Like Ryker's transporter double.

      I can't remember the episode, but I was very impressed that the double managed to survive alone for years without going insane. There can't be many things that are worse than being alone, without any form of human contact for many years, but here's a few that are close:
      1. being stuck alone and being Ryker.
      2. being stuck alone except for Ryker.
      3. being Ryker.

      After contemplating the magnitude of such a tragedy, I don't even have the energy to do the ???, Profit! thing.
      • 1. being stuck alone and being Ryker.

        2. being stuck alone except for Ryker.

        3. being Ryker.

        4. being stuck alone with a Ferengi.

        5. ???

        6. PROFIT!

    • Re:Impossible to... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KDan ( 90353 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:58AM (#5134095) Homepage
      Depends what you mean by raising the dead. If you mean "oh, make a clone of John, educate it, let it grow up to John's age, and you have John again", then obviously that's never going to work, and there was never really any doubt about that. Unless you can reproduce the exact environment of John's life, down to the quark configuration of the entire universe (every little bit can alter events), it's impossible to get John again through that method.

      However, another much better method is this: Make a clone of John, keep its brain blank as you grow it (maybe in an accelerated fashion) to John's size, and then transfer John's thoughts to that clone. Of course that requires very advanced brain knowledge to "read" and "write" a brain - assuming that's even possible.

      But that would give you immortality (so long as you keep your brain safe).

      • by Xuther ( 223012 )
        But that would give you immortality (so long as you keep your brain safe).

        Um not exactly..
        It would be a duplicate copy, but not you. It would just have your memories. Now, if you could link the two brains and just transfer the running "program" of who you are over to the other "processor" without halting or forking, then I'd consider it immortality since it's the same memories, genetics, and for lack of a better word "soul".
      • Pseudo Immortaltiy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Myriad ( 89793 ) <myriad.thebsod@com> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:12AM (#5134371) Homepage
        However, another much better method is this: Make a clone of John, keep its brain blank as you grow it (maybe in an accelerated fashion) to John's size, and then transfer John's thoughts to that clone. Of course that requires very advanced brain knowledge to "read" and "write" a brain - assuming that's even possible. But that would give you immortality (so long as you keep your brain safe).

        This would only give you pseudo immortality. Consider:

        You have the original and make a copy of it, then place the copy into the new body. For a brief period there are now two copies of you.

        Here's the catch, the original still dies. Meaning you still die, but a backup lives on.

        Personally I'm not sure I like that a whole lot. It might be nice to know that my personality will go on, but it still is not me.

        The only way I can see this sort of working is if the mind is transfered rather than copied. Then, arguably, the original doesn't have to die as well. Though this transfer would likely be a copy and wipe, which has the same problem as above.

        • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:56AM (#5134629) Journal

          This would only give you pseudo immortality. Consider: You have the original and make a copy of it, then place the copy into the new body. For a brief period there are now two copies of you. Here's the catch, the original still dies. Meaning you still die, but a backup lives on.

          I think this is an interesting idea, and I think the answers depend a lot on the nature of consciousness, and whether there is any such thing as a "soul".

          The point is that to everyone else, the backup would seem identical to you. Moreover, the backup would claim that he was you - as far he is concerned, he has been brought back to life. The "original" you will never know having died (assuming one doesn't believe in an afterlife). Things are a little more confusing after duplication but before one has died; you'll have two people both insisting they are the 'original' (and in some sense, they are both right). From that instant on, they'll diverge and be different people, of course.

          Consider - it could be that every night I go to sleep, "I" die, and it's a different "me" that wakes up the next morning. But unless anyone (the "me" today, the "me" tomorrow, or anyone else) could have any way tell any difference, to me it seems meaningless to say that something has died. It could be that "I" die every nanosecond - it could be that the only way to define continuity of consciousness is in terms of memories and brain activity.

          If one doesn't believe in some continuous entity like a soul (as I don't), then the "me" as used in this context is meaningless.

          You say that transferring could work - but how is transferring different to a copy-and-delete? (I guess, again, it depends on whether one believes in some unique un-copyable property of physical particles).

          It's a similar idea with teleporting Star-trek style. If any such technologies ever appear, I agree that people would be wary (I mean, *I* would be too, despite what I believe). But after a few people have tried it, people would gradually see that it "works" (rightly or wrongly), and it could well be that it becomes commonplace, apart from a few who resist.

        • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @12:01PM (#5135551) Journal
          Which brings in a big debate over cloning and just what makes a person, well, a person. If you have a soul... would a clone be born with a soul? If you were brain-copied over to the clone, does that clone inherit your soul as well? If you original body dies... what goes to heaven/hell? What really defines you.
          Yeah, I think cloning really scares the crap outta a lot of religious people, especially with the concept of having a lot of soulless clones.

          That being said though, even if you copied the "memories", a lot of the way a body works depends on how it has grown. John Doe "A" may be 5'8" tall, with a slight case of asmthma from living near the local carcinogen plant, etc etc. John Doe "B" would grow up with different ailments, and probably a different biochemical pattern within his body. A lot of how we work is in our hormonal, etc, balances.
          So, even if there were no soul issue, growing a new John Doe "B" from DNA of John Doe "A" (or a new fluffy the kitten), will not create an exact replica.
          • There are also legal issues that have to be addressed.
            1. Is a clone a full citizen?
            2. Is a clone even legally a human being?
            3. Is a clone a child of the donor, or the donor's parents (as it is basically a time-delayed twin)?
            4. Does a clone have any rights?
            5. Can a clone inherit your stuff?
            Now, siome of you are going Duh, Rat! Of course clones are people!, but until we make a full an legal decision on this all bets are off.
      • I bet it takes you longer to spell your password out loud than it would to type it.

        The whole body contributes to memory not just the brain.

        • I think what you're calling 'muscle memory' is really a function of the cerebellum. The intricacies of the motion are not something you're consciously aware of anymore, but the muscles are still being controlled by the brain.
  • by Repran ( 560270 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:58AM (#5133772) Journal
    ...damn copy cats.
  • well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @05:59AM (#5133774) Homepage Journal
    everyone except the scientists.
    However people expecting clones to remember the stuff from the original, really make me wonder how we manage to get any technology at all.
    • Re:well... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:11AM (#5133812) Homepage
      Nobody was expecting the same memories; they were, however, expecting the same behavior patterns.

      I admit I was surprised. More and more behavioral aspects of an organism are being defined by genetics these days. Look at how identical twins raised in different environments exhibit similar behavioral patterns, down to the occupations they choose. Nature vs. nurture's an ongoing battle, but over the past few years it's seemed that nature would win.
      • Yes... but (Score:5, Interesting)

        by The Tyro ( 247333 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:30AM (#5134028)
        people apparently left out the "nurture" part of the equation entirely.

        It seems to me an incredible stretch that people actually believed their pet's behavior/personality was hard-coded in the DNA.... but maybe that's just my studied-the-hard-sciences-all-my-life bias.

        Behaviors are very complex things... both genetic tendency and environmental interaction play important roles. Even in psychiatric disorders that have strong genetic links (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) having both parents (or an identical twin) afflicted will only buy the child or sibling a 50-60% chance (give or take 10%) of developing the disorder.

        Yes, genes are the building blocks of our bodies... but you have to give nurture its chance at bat.
      • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:17AM (#5134135)
        Look at how identical twins raised in different environments exhibit similar behavioral patterns, down to the occupations they choose.

        The huge difference between twins and clones is that a set of twins experience mostly identical conditions during the gestation period. The same temperature, the same bath of hormones, oxygen levels, etc. It's not a huge surprise then that they end up looking the same, acting the same (within limits). A clone on the other hand is going to experience a completely different set of conditions, even if it is placed in the womb of the original mother (surely she has aged some).

        In reptiles, the gender of an animal can be changed simply by incubating at a different temperatures. Sea Turtle's genders are determined by location/temperature in the nest. It shouldn't be surprising that these cats and thus humans would turn out to be radically different then based on their gestation environments. In fact, I'd be willing to wager this is precisely why the cloned calico turned out to be gray...
        • Ah... but (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pythorlh ( 236755 )
          Once scientists develop the technology to support gestation in an artificial womb, the will have the abillity to measure and control that environment. Which should lead to lots of interesting theories regarding agressiveness (social standing, intelligence, etc.) as a product of womb temperature (pH, noise level, etc.) Get a good handle on that, and we'll be well on our way to creating clone subhumans to enslave. Not that anyone would do that, of course.
      • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by acedtect ( 183616 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @01:20PM (#5136221) Homepage
        This difference points to a belief I've held for a long time. Cloning is nothing to worry about

        The idea that genetics determines everything is simplistically appealing. It also ignores most of modern biological science. Genetics just doesn't work the way the average Fox News viewer thinks it does.

        Here are my main tenets why you shouldn't fear cloning any more than any other form of reproductive assistance.

        1. Proteomics (http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteomics)
        Humans have about 30,000 genes but over 200,000 proteins encoded by those genes. Proteins are what carry out the life processes. Proteomics is extremely complicated and it's effects and actions change depending on the part of the body and the stage of life.

        2. Complex Systems - Now that we've got over the genetic determination bias, we have to deal with the incredibly complex interactions of proteins. We're just beginning to understand proteomics, but it's likely that random or at least stochastic variation plays a large role in how the genes build you and me. Studies of complex systems indicate that small fluctuations can have big changes and big fluctuations can have small changes. This gives me the belief (not knowledge mind you, but belief) that cloning will end up with a very similar individual that still remains unique.

        3. Tendency Away from Extremes.
        I've noticed over time that the things society in general gets all worked up about generally turn out to be much less of a problem or as extreme than was expected or feared. While this is not a proof of anything (look at Hitler who ended up the opposite) it general holds true. Killer bees did not wipe out Texas, and the Internet did not save the world, at least as fast as it was supposed to.

        Cloning will have it's controversies but after the first few clones have grown up (and Raelians or not, people will be cloned) we'll realize that they're no more a threat or abomination than twins, and possibly less interesting.

        The fear over cloning is another example of what happens when people take half-truths and try for the simple explanation.
  • by tooloftheoligarchy ( 557158 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:00AM (#5133779)
    ...for "Carbon Copy"... no wonder the thing is thinner thatn it's "sibling"... it's got identity issues and they've triggered an eating disorder.
  • Nature vs. Nurture (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DJPenguin ( 17736 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:01AM (#5133782)
    It's the old Nature vs. Nurture debate - I would imagine these cats were treated differently, and this could account for differences in behaviour.

    It might however have been a different story if both cats had been cloned before birth to make them identical twins. The older cat in the article would have had to change it's behaviour when the new one came along.

    It just goes to show the genetics doesn't define "who we are".
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:06AM (#5133798) Journal
      But its not personality.

      The coats are different colors. How is this possible?

      I know when they cloaned dolly, the clone experienced premature aging. The theory is that when each cell divides it stores the information about the division internally. After so many divides the cells began to not regenerate as much and this causes aging. Perhaps something similiar happened and caused the hairs to not display in full colors due to false information stored from the other cat that was implanted in the egg cell of the clone.

      Anyway this is a mystery and alot more research is needed on this.

      • by ishark ( 245915 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:35AM (#5133875)
        The coats are different colors. How is this possible?

        The color of a cat's coat is a much more complex matter than what it seems. While, of course, genetics applies, there are a lot of "minor" details which are not completely understood.
        Even in "purebreed" cats you can have a lot of fluctuations in the fur color (there are lots of variations in the "blue" you can see in the Chartreux). While some of them are genetically transferred (and thus selective breeding can enhance/cancel them), for some of them the situation is not so clear, an example being the tortie-shell females (black/red or blue/cream), where the distribution of the color doesn't seem much controllable. From what they show with Cc it also seems that the tabby stripes can show up more or less depending on the individual.

        Some more info on the main cat color genes can be found here [fanciers.com]
        and even more here [netpets.com].
        • Look at the photo! (Score:5, Informative)

          by throbbingbrain.com ( 443482 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:15AM (#5134131)
          Like everything else in the news about cloning, the article completely passes over the science.

          First, the cat's color pattern was decided by individual skin cells very early in embryonic development. The individual cells multiply, carrying the same color, to become the pattern on the adult cat.

          Second, and most notably, calico cats (tortoise shell) carry a color in each sex chromosome - that's why 99.9% of calico cats are female (XX female, although there are some XXY male calicos but they're sterile). Fur color depends on which X chromosome is active, and which one is inactive (curled up, as they say)

          So, looking at the picture, you'll notice the clone (cc) has only two colors indicating that it is not only a clone of the donor cat, but a 100% exact genetic clone of ONE cell of the donor cat. The other X chromosome is completely inactive.

          That's just my observation from the photo because no news article will ever talk about the science behind the hype.
          • by dughat ( 158489 )
            Not remembering much of my genetics, does this mean:
            1. All clones from this cell would be these two colors?
            2. Clones from a different cell might well be two, and only two, different colors?
            3. There is no way to clone a calico to get another calico?
            • by throbbingbrain.com ( 443482 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @10:15AM (#5134745)
              This was one of the big questions when Dolly the sheep was created. Dolly was also supposed to test whether a clone is as genetically "old" as the donor. Both answers were lost in the media hype, and will most likely be lost with Cc the cat as well.

              It appears that:

              1. Yes. All clones from one cell will have the same two colors.
              2. Yes/No. All clones from a tan patch will be white/tan. All clones from a black patch will be white/black. The white fur isn't sex linked and will always be present.
              3. Yes. Apparantly, you can't get a calico clone for the same reason you can't find a male calico - it takes the random on/off of 2 X-chromosomes to form the colors.

              The uniform X chromosome deactivation would happen with female clones from any animal, it's just visually obvious on a calico cat. I'm curious if it would have any effect on a human.
          • by Sgt York ( 591446 )

            If it holds up, that would imply that there are changes at the sequence level associated with the formation of Barr bodies. The Barr structure should be destroyed during the donor DNA preparation, and if the information is conserved, the information may be in the sequence.

            Of course, one X had to be inactivated regardless, so you'd have to know which one was in a Barr body in the donor in order to know the circumstance was duplicated.

            You could establish it by cloning CC several times; If >>50% of her "offspring" had the same coat, that would suggest a conserved change.

          • Actually... No (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:16AM (#5135173)
            I think you are confusing breeding with cloning. In breeding, two cats give half of their genes to combine into one set of genes. It would then make sense to say one gene is active and the other gene counterpart is inactive. In cloning, the genes come from the same donor so it is not possible for the clone to have an active gene while the original have not.

            The reason why the cats have different fur patterns is the same reason why identical twins do not have identical fingerprints even though they have identical DNA. Don't believe me? Check your twin friends' DNA and compare their fingerprints. The DNA only provides the general blueprint, the cell has some leeway on the implementation... much like our manufacturing industries. :-)
            • by Qzukk ( 229616 )
              Genetics lesson, from the basics:

              In animals, gender is determined by X and Y chromosomes. The valid choices are XY (male) and XX (female). Other cases create a sterile or nonviable mutant.

              Now, cells only require one X chromosome to operate. In females, therefore, every cell de-activates one of the two X chromosomes during fetal development, which becomes a Barr body and is completely genetically useless.

              In cats, Black and Brown hair colors are stored on the X chromosome. Thus males can be black or brown (since they have only one X chromosome), and females can be black and brown.

              Females get to be black and brown when one inherited X chromosome is black, and the other is brown. Then, when one of the chromosomes is turned into a Barr body, the patch of skin that develops from that fetal cell becomes either black, or brown. Other cells could have disabled the other chromosone, leading to splotches of other colors.

              And now for the cloning:
              When the ovaries/eggs develop, each egg receives one of each pair of chromosomes. Thus, the eggs of a Brown/Black cat are either Brown, or Black. I am not sure what technique exactly was used in producing the clone, but if they doubled the chromosomes in each egg, the Black egg would create a Black/Black clone. If they merged two eggs together, its possible that they just happened to pick two Black eggs. If they picked a non-egg cell (unlikely) then they would have either had to swap the Barr body for a real X chromosome (in which case they could have chosen a Black/disabled cell, and added Black in again) or somehow re-activate the Barr body.
          • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @12:51PM (#5135989)
            A quibble regarding the excellent post above: The poster says "The other X chromosome is completely inactive", but actually, the deactivated X chromosome reactivates in the ovaries, so that the eggs all end up with functioning X chromosomes.

            The really interesting thing about this is that while Cc is genetically a calico, she looks exactly like a white-patched gray tabby. In all probability, she is the only calico cat on the planet with no orange spots.

            Even more interesting, she is probably the only gray cat on the planet who can mate with a gray or black male and give birth to orange kittens!

            For a "perfectly normal" cat, Cc is actually a pretty strange critter.

        • by assaultriflesforfree ( 635986 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:31AM (#5134181)
          Actually, the reason that these coats don't look entirely alike is probably entirely genetic. Although, you're correct, it's not predictable or controllable. When a female cat is conceived, it begins to grow, duplicating its cells. Each of these cells, however, has two copies of the x-chromosome. Only one of these is useful. So, in a random pattern, the cells will switch off one of the chromosomes by forming Barr bodies that surround it. It's a well understood process called Lyonization for anybody interested in looking into it. However, this only happens for females. One might then ask whether a male cat's clone would look identical. My guess is again that it would not, although Lyonization would not be an adequate explanation. However, I believe that they would look much more similar than any two cloned calico cats (which are all female and whose coats are formed by this mechanism).
          • by one9nine ( 526521 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:58AM (#5134296) Journal
            Mod parent up, finally the correct explaination.

            Each of these cells, however, has two copies of the x-chromosome. Only one of these is useful.

            This is not true, both Xs are perfectly viable. One contains the gene for tan, the other for black. One X gets switched off in each of the cells at random. Then, when each cell divides, the X chromosome that was turned off continues to be switched off in all of the progeny cells. The skin cells that are produced from these cells will express the color of the X chromosome that was not turned off.

            The white coloring is caused by epistatis, or the overriding of one gene by another. Also, in some cats, temperature plays a part on which color the coat will be.

        • by Uart ( 29577 )
          This brings to mind the example of the himmalayan (sp?) rabbit. When raised at its normal (cold) temperature, its ears, nose and feet would be brown; BUT when raised at a warmer temperature, it would be white. Also, if a patch of fur were shaved from the rabbit's side, and an icepack were applied, then that area would also grow in brown...

          Well it turns out that the enzyme that the himmalayan allele codes for denatures at a warmer temperature, so in cold temperatures, the rabbit's extremities would be the only part of the rabbit that were brown (body heat was lower at those points).

          Anyway, the point is, that DNA codes for proteins, it isn't as definitive as people believe it is. Nature can easily affect the proteins/enzymes/whatever to react differently.
      • by bokmann ( 323771 )
        Coat patterns are influenced by the environment in the uterus during fetal development... similar to the principles at develop your fingerprints. Even identical twins don't have duplicate fingerprints, even though they share more genetic information in common than clones do (itentical twins *also* share the mitochondrial dna from their mother, which is not the same as a 'nuclear' dna that gets cloned).
    • by silhouette ( 160305 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @10:42AM (#5134914)
      Yessssss! Nurture wins!

      In your FACE, Nature!! Nyaaaaa!

      Nurture - 1, Nature - 0!


      <drunken singing>
      Weeee are the schampions... WEEEE are the schampions... nooo time for looosers...
      </drunken singing>
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:02AM (#5133783)
    So.. it's silicon based then? Well, that means they can colonize radioactive worlds, but their population growth is half.
    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:13AM (#5133819) Homepage Journal
      "So.. it's silicon based then? Well, that means they can colonize radioactive worlds, but their population growth is half. "

      No no, it's the first silicon based pussy that anybody cared about.

      Hmm. You know, it's just like poker. You can't beat a Master of Orion reference with a porn reference, even with the double meaning bonus. My only ace would be if I could find a surprisingly appropriate Doctor Who reference.
  • As expected really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by terrencefw ( 605681 ) <.slashdot. .at. .jamesholden.net.> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:04AM (#5133793) Homepage
    I think that this is pretty much what we all expected... far more nurture than nature. Like the article says, it's the personality that we like about our animals, not it's genetic makeup.

    As for the company which promises to provide you with a replacement pet which looks just like the old one, they admit that it's won't have the same personality. 'Scuse me, but isn't a pet that looks the same but with a different personality just what you'd find down the local animal sanctuary or pet store? (And far cheaper!)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:05AM (#5133794)
    That's the sound of God chuckling as he walks back to the library.

  • by KrunZ ( 247479 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:06AM (#5133796)
    Speaking of making perfect copies of animals Mexican Scientists Perfect Copying [theonion.com] :).
  • basic flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slimordium ( 613217 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:06AM (#5133797) Journal
    The definition of "clone' as used is incorrect, that is probably where the problem comes from in the first place. Redefine that word retroactively and perhaps avoid the whole mess from the start. Clone? I do not think "it" will ever be possible. Are we any closer to understanding the complete universe/multiverse/galaxy much less how our DNA works? HA! Arrogant bastards. In 100 hundred years or so people will laugh at our "clone' ideas. Snicker. I laugh proactively of course. But I reserve the right to change my opinion.
  • by psycho_tinman ( 313601 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:07AM (#5133800) Journal

    Its been established that nature plays a lesser role than nurture in the personality of a human.. obviously, the same must apply to animals as well..

    No matter even if you clone an Einstein, they're not going to pop out spouting theorems, it just doesnt work that way.. from a purely research oriented perspective, though, it might be interesting to have an Einstein clone, simply to see how he may use his innate talents along ANOTHER field of science (or maybe not even a science, he might have been a GREAT musician, for all we know)..

    For any person, most things we do are not innate but rather taught.. Would Mozart have started composing from the age of 4 if he hadnt had parents who encouraged him ? I doubt it.. With a clone, the only thing you CAN get is the potential to achieve the same things as the "original" (I hate using that term, but whatever)..

    So, finally, in typical Slashdot-style, let me ask.. Is this really news ? (yeah, it is, it probably helped correct a lot of peoples misconceptions about the cloning process, which is GREAT, but it should have been obvious from the start)

    • Its been established that nature plays a lesser role than nurture in the personality of a human.. obviously, the same must apply to animals as well..

      That much is intuitively obvious... what is less obvious is why the cats have different colored fur. After all, human twins are often physically indistinguishable.
      • what is less obvious is why the cats have different colored fur. After all, human twins are often physically indistinguishable.

        Humans usually have uniformly coloured hair on top of their heads--but even then, identical twins with different hair colour are sometimes seen (Lancet 353 (1999) 562). Cats often have mottled, striped, or otherwise nonuniform coats.

        The splotches on a cat are the result some rather interesting processes, one of which is described here []. Essentially, cats receive genes determining the colour of their coats from both parents. Within the cat embryo at the stage where it contains a few dozen or fewer cells, one set of genes for colour is deactivated in each cell--but it is not necessarily the same set in different cells.

        This random deactivation of genes mean that parts of the cat that develop from one cell within the embryo will show orange fur, while bits from other cells may turn up with black fur. Overall, the effect is mottled fur, in a random pattern--just as is seen with Cc.

  • by Doctor Hu ( 628508 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:08AM (#5133803)
    ...when are they going to clone the same cat multiple times, to check out the "9 lives" theory?

    Yes, we're at a coffee break here. How did you guess?

  • by ender81b ( 520454 ) <<moc.aksarbeni> <ta> <dllib>> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:11AM (#5133815) Homepage Journal
    I, personally, find this fascinating. They claim the feline in question is a perfect clone yet it is totally different personality wise/color wise/body shape than it's 'parent'.

    Wow. Cool. I say this because it goes to show you that their must literally be hundreds of thousands of variables that effect how an organism turns out - not just genes. While the personality of the cat could be expected to differ - based on how it was raised - it is really quite cool how the new cat is an entirely different color/shape than its parent. I am not a biologist or scientist by any means but this surely has to change how we view how organisms grow and develop. Why is the color/shape of this cat different than it's parent? I imagine the more complex the organism the more variations you can get from a clone of it.

    It also brings up interesting evolutionary questions, i.e. if an organisms shape/color/behavior isn't completely determined by genes how, exactly, does this effect how evolution takes place? I am taking an anthropology class right now and the view presented in that class at least is that Culture is a extra-somatic (read: non genes) form of adaptation. Primates, whales, dolphins, sea otters, etc, etc all exhibit traits and culture. but this doesn't fit into a culture - why is the cat's color/shape different than the parent? Does enviroment somehow effect what shape/color the cat turns out?

    What does this mean for human cloning? Probably that if you get a clone of yourself it will look/act very little like you.

    I also have to agree with the human society spokesperson. If you want a cat/dog/iguana/snake/whatever run down to the local animal shelter and pick up the next one scheduled to be euthanized. Don't spend 5 figures trying to ressurect fluffy for god's sake.
    • by cosyne ( 324176 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:18AM (#5133994) Homepage
      it goes to show you that their must literally be hundreds of thousands of variables that effect how an organism turns out - not just genes ... this surely has to change how we view how organisms grow and develop. Why is the color/shape of this cat different than it's parent? I imagine the more complex the organism the more variations you can get from a clone of it.

      I doubt that very many developmental biologists are shocked by the clone having a different color. Even if the cat embryos went through the exact same conditions in the womb, there are some parts of biological development which are, basically, random. (The way that human visual sensors map to the visual cortex in the back of the brain is random and bizarre). Even if Cc was carried by Rainbow's mom, its unlikely that the mother cat followed the same sleep cycle, ate the exact same catfood, experienced the same environmental conditions (from temperature to gravitational variations), etc.

      It also brings up interesting evolutionary questions, i.e. if an organisms shape/color/behavior isn't completely determined by genes how, exactly, does this effect how evolution takes place?

      Evolution is random to begin with, so you have to consider the averages. It's not literally that Bob the Tortise has a longer neck so it eats more of the food and Dave the Tortise dies. Given a set of genes common to a certian group (Bob's family), even with some random variations, that group could, more often than not, fare better than another group with a different set of genes (and random variations around those genes). So eventually Bob's group does better and those genes permeate the gene pool. Random phenotypical (outward characteristics as opposed to genetic characteristics) variation won't be passed on, so if it gives a particular individual some advantage, good for them, but it doesn't effect the population. If the phenotypical variation is harmful and the creature's genes don't give it enough advantages to keep up, that individual won't pass it's genes on as much as the rest of the population, so they become less common.

      And cultural adaptation is a whole nother matter, although you could look at it in a natural-selection context. Will our culture be able to adapt to it's surroundings well enough to avaoid getting killed by other cultures, or from within, or by destroying the habitat? And if our culture as we know it is destroyed, is that just a radical mutation, similar to the way that a few drug resistant bacteria can survive a penicillin dose and breed a new drug-resistant strain?
      But that's a different discussion.
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peterpi ( 585134 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:12AM (#5133817)
    I am genetically identical today to how I was yesterday, but I expect I'll do loads of different stuff.
    • by Inflatable Hippo ( 202606 ) <inflatable_hippo AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:47AM (#5133913) Journal
      > I am genetically identical today to how I was yesterday, but I expect I'll do loads of different stuff.

      We change a great deal over time. For example I was blond and blue eyed until I was two and now I'm grey/green eyed and dark haired (what's left of it)

      My mother asked a Nurse about this at the time (1960's) and was told that changes like this are quite normal over time.

      This did confuse my mother somewhat since it happened to me over a period of 5 minutes when I was left outside a shop with our dog.

  • by shamir_k ( 222154 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:13AM (#5133820) Homepage
    Even the coat pattern of the two cats is different!! Then what exactly are the similarities. I have heard stories of human twins leading very similar lives. Genese definitely do have a big effect on personality and behaviour. So the interesting question is : what are the similarities between two cats with the same DNA, but very different environments (and ages). Could shed some new and interesting light on the old nurture vs. nature arguements. Even for humans .
    • I have heard stories of human twins leading very similar lives. Genese definitely do have a big effect on personality and behaviour.

      I'm glad that your detailed anecdotal study has reached such enlightening conclusions.

      Twins are usually raised in the same home, under the same circumstances, by the same parents. Even then, there are usually marked differences once you get to know them. (Sure, they look mostly the same, but they're not identical.) I don't think your research properly separates environmental and genetic effects.

      For identical twins raised independently, there is certainly a strong correlation betweent their susceptibilities to certain diseases, just as we would expect. Though there might be some similarities in temperament, the correlation isn't much bettter than between two random individuals. (I lump most mental illnesses under diseases, not temperament.)

      Psychologists (and legions of statisticians) have made careers of studies of identical twins. Just because you've heard about cases where twins are similar, doesn't mean that dissimilar cases don't exist. There's a confirmation bias at work, because similar behaviour supports our subconscious belief that people who look alike ought to be alike.

  • by hussar ( 87373 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:14AM (#5133823) Homepage
    What will be interesting is the follow-on research to determine why the two cats (or any two cloned cats) are not the same. Using clones, they have removed the DNA as a variable. The differences that resulted must therefore be due to other factors. What the other factors are and how they effect the end result should then become the central question.

    My guess is that the end analysis will be that these other factors are too many and too widely variable to be consistently controlled.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:15AM (#5133825)
    Not a Carbon API for a Cat ? Upgrade to Cacoa for full MacOS X Jaguar support.
  • It's all good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hdparm ( 575302 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:15AM (#5133828) Homepage

    After all, clones won't be a boring copies of their originals.

    I would appreciate, though if somebody here can explain why doesn't same genetic pattern produce same phisycal characteristics. It's obvious that behaviour is influenced by some other factors, as well but phisycal differences seem ilogical. Thanks.

    • Re:It's all good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by halny ( 628748 )

      I don't see anything illogical about this. Try baking three cakes using the same recipe. Chances of them being *identical* are rather small.

      It would be theoretically possible to estimate information capacity of DNA molecue (after all it isn't infinite). I don't know how big it would be, but I don't know why would anyone believe DNA could store information about everything.

  • by MonTemplar ( 174120 ) <slashdot@alanralph.fastmail.uk> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:45AM (#5133908) Journal
    'What are we going to do tonight, Rainbow?'
    'The same thing we do every night, CC - try to take over the World!'

    You honestly thing it was the Human's idea to clone the Cat? You fools! It's part of their Masterplan to rise in vast numbers, and cast aside the enemy Dogs once and for all! Then we will be their obedient slaves - forever! :)
  • More cats? (Score:5, Funny)

    by hoop33 ( 585222 ) <rwarner@interspati a l .com> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @06:53AM (#5133932)
    From the article:
    "There are millions of cats in shelters and with rescue groups that need homes, and the last thing we need is a new production strategy for cats."

    Classic. Did this quote really come from Bob Barker?
  • by johnraphone ( 624518 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:14AM (#5133984) Homepage
    those two cats [cnn.net] look nothing alike, not even a little bit. At lease I look a lot like my clone [cnn.com], jeeze.
  • DNA testing (Score:3, Funny)

    by kjd ( 41294 ) <(kdraper) (at) (swbell.net)> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:26AM (#5134013)
    Assuming that cloning humans yields similar results, I suppose we can eventually say goodbye to scientifically-accurate DNA matching in the crime lab.

    "No! It wasn't me! I've been cloned!"
  • Why would they be? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by avajadi ( 232509 ) <ewt@NosPam.avajadi.org> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:37AM (#5134044) Journal
    The fact that two genetically identical specimens differ never seems to stop baffling the scientific community in spite of the fact that it's been a known fact for as long as we've known about genes.
    For instance: how identical are identical twins, really? If you look at dandelions in a field, are they all the same? Both are examples of multiple, genetically identical, specimens (assuming the dandelions are all of the same species, they are effectively clones, since they reproduce asexually).
    In both cases there are great similarities, but also some differences in both physical appearance and, in the human example above, behaviour.
    My biology teacher told me many years ago: You don't inherit properties, you inherit predispositions. /Avajadi
  • Anyone read Cyteen? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anonymous cupboard ( 446159 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:40AM (#5134051)
    Has anyone read the book "Cyteen" by Cherryh. I'm not going to prostitute myself for any particular bookstore, so you can do your own lookup wherever you want. It was published about ten years and addresses nature vs. nurture amongst other things very well.

    It features cloned humans who are brought up being indoctrinated via programmed learning, the so called "azi". It also features a human clone of a genius who is carefully raised in an almost identical environment (similar family, etc), producing another genius, but one who is similar but subtly different. Like the cats described above, it is very difficult to clone behaviour.

    I reread the book this Christmas because of the Raelians and Clonaid. The book was quite prophetic. The author isn't a scientist (I think she teaches history) but she seems to have done one of the best writups wince Huxley's "Brave New World".

  • by Nemus ( 639101 ) <astarchman@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:43AM (#5134061) Journal
    Alot of the general public, and unfortunately alot of companys and independent scientists as well, have forgotten what the true purpose and logical extension of cloning is.

    Of course there will always be infertile couple who will want use this method to have babies, someday maybe, but otherwise we don't really need cloning to duplicate life forms. We already have a method. Its called sex. And while some arguments can be made for cloning endangered or extinct animals, until we could make a clone that was capable of reproduction, would there really be anything besides a novelty interest in this? I mean sure, yay, you've got a zoo with a thousand pandas. Unfortunately they'll all be dead in x number of years, and you'll have to clone a thousand more. Rather pointless.

    The true purpose of cloning is, and should remain, complete and utter mastery of genetics and medical science. This is why the whole stem cell thing is so important, and should not be constarined in the way it is (For those who object to it on moral grounds saying it encourages abortions, it doesn't. The abortion doctor who made sales pitches like that to pregant women would be shot on principle.)

    Stem Cell research and the race to human cloning are, objectively, two leaves on the same branch. Both should be refined and mastered to the point where the dream of human immortality is no longer a dream. This should be all about pushing genetics and microbiology to their absolute limits, not trying to make a Bob mark II or Fluffy 3.0 . Cloning a human just for the hell of it though, or trying to bring back to life a dead child or loved one or pet out of hopes for a "replacement" is irresponsible both scientifically, and morally.

    So what would be "legitimate" applications of these technologies. Obviously, and one that was a main topic of debate during the stem cell controversy in congress, was the cloning of indivual organs, like hearts and livers. This way, instead of someone having to wait for months or years for a vital heart or liver transplant, a compatible one could be made up on the spot. And, since research into these fields will also yield advances in fields like neurological medicine, the possibility of new arms or legs, or even new eyes or audial organs becomes a possibility.

    However, I do disprove of the notion that some people seem to think that we'll be planting out minds into "blank slate" bodies, sometime in the distant future. Thats not just ultra-late term abortion, thats essentially murder, unless something was done to the brain to keep it only restricted to base biological functions, and not the development of a psyche, and even that would be just weird.

    And, for the record, I am pro-life, so no flames from pro-lifers on the stem cell stuff like last time.

  • by CharlieO ( 572028 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:45AM (#5134068)
    This isn't really a surprise - what it is an example of is the popular misunderstanding of genetics and cloning.

    DNA and genes are only the receipe for a cat - if you like the instruction set.

    Its only if you think of a well ordered system that you would expect an identical end result - for instance most computer code is well ordered in this respect - every time you run the program and construct the classes you get the same result.

    But not every system is like this - any system, and certainly most you find in nature, that is chaotic can produce different results. Sometimes these may reach the same exact stable state in the end - sometimes that approach a loci of similar states.

    In terms of the cat each clone will approach a loci of very similar looking cats, but each cat will be different. They will all look very similar but they will not be identical.

    In terms of a reciepe we all bake cakes using the same mix of ingredients and the same oven - but each week it does come out slightly differently.

    This really shouldn't be a surprise - nature has for years provided its own genetically identical clones in the form of identical twins/triplets etc - and whilst they are indeed very similar they are not identical.

    So even before you bring the nature/nurture argument in its clear if you stop and think that genetic clones will never be identical.
  • Hmm, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ice_Hole ( 87701 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:49AM (#5134077) Homepage
    I think it would be intersting to see if the coloring and pattern of the kitten was a product of it's suroundings before and during birth.

    For Example, lets say the the mother cat was active, and the cat was born in the summer in warm weather. Would that make the kitten be lighter colored, and have thinner fur? How about an identical Clone where the mother was kept in a dark damp room? Would the kitten show up different because of the suroundings it was in before it was even born? (That is assumeing these babies were created, then artificially inseminated.)

    To me that would be an interesting extension on this experiment. TO see exactly how things turn out. And maybe make a major breakthrough in how we think of genitics, and the possability of some other factors that have yet to be discovered in teh development of humans/ animals/ all thoes other things :)

    Ohh, sorry about grammar, and spelling mistakes, I am sure their are plenty.

    - Ice_Hole
  • by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @07:54AM (#5134088)
    Surely some of those white-suited Stormtroopers should be pink. Or blue.
  • To get it right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by praedor ( 218403 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:03AM (#5134110) Homepage

    You could do the cloning from the embryonic stage. If you impregnate a cat and let the eggs start developing, then select one or two embryos, split them into two (now half-sized) embryos, reimplant them, then let them continue development then you would TRUE clones that went through the same environment during development. The same burst of hormones from the mother at the same time, the same nutritional environment, etc.

    The clones being produced of late from adult somatic cells are not good measures of the strength of genes in creating a creature/person. Why? No, NOT because of "nurture" being more important (it isn't). It is because the de facto biological environment en utero is different (different hormone levels from mom, different nutritional conditions, etc...no two pregnancies are the same in this regard particularly from different mothers).

    Original cat biologically developed in a certain set of biological conditions en utero. That cat was also produced from properly regulated/formed egg-sperm fusion. Copy cat was produced from a somatic cell which DID contain mutations (inevitable given the basal mutation rate), many genes were silenced or activated in a manner totally different from a normal fertilized egg and all that regulatory machinery has to be unwound to get embryonic development going. This unwinding of regulatory mechanisms is imperfect - hence the MANY MANY failures to get a successful clone; the why behind the huge failure rate (added to mutations).

    You end up with a disregulated genome in the embryo that is TOTALLY different than the properly regulated/prepared genome resulting from a standard egg-sperm fertilization event, coupled to a different biological environment en utero and you will NOT get a carbon copy. Can't happen, wont happen.

    The time between inserting the nucleus from a somatic cell into an enucleated egg (the standard method of cloning in these circumstances) is too short. Those cells capable of dividing begin dividing almost immediately. There is NOT enough time for the somatic genome to be "reset" (if resetting is truly even possible) to a state equivalent to that of a normal egg-sperm state. Thus you end up with a mishmash of improperly regulated genes in the clone's genome - differences and problems galore. NO carbon copy.

  • by Craig3010 ( 634402 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:15AM (#5134133)
    Aggies can't be expected to clone pussy and get it right...
  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @08:34AM (#5134192)
    Because of the fact that it violates cultural assumptions, not any scientific fact or expectation.

    We're entering a phase where our cultural assumptions on science, derived from many sources (mostly unscientific) are running headlong into actual technology.

    Just take a look at the people who were shocked to discover folks would use a worldwide network of data exchange (the Internet) for pornography! No one's interested in that stuff . . .

  • From the article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peterpi ( 585134 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:02AM (#5134313)
    "However, he said cloning could reproduce what a pet owner considers to be exceptional genes, particularly from an animal with unknown parentage or one that has been spayed or neutered."

    This will destroy the exclusivity of a good pedigree (an oxymoron in itself IMHO) and be a cause for concern for breeders once the technology falls in price.

  • by 0x12d3 ( 623370 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#5134324)
    and without 'genetic defects', but if she was born blind do ya think they would've named her Bcc??
  • by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @09:26AM (#5134436)
    Mr. Bigglesworth! I will call him mini-meow.
  • by Phaid ( 938 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @10:07AM (#5134690) Homepage
    Setting aside the whole nature vs nurture issue, the reason that two calico cats won't look the same even if they are "genetically identical" is due to mosaicism [colostate.edu]. Basically what happens is that the gene for certain types of coloration is carried on the X chromosome. Early in embryonic development, each cell in the cat inactivates either the paternal X chromosome or the maternal X chromosome (obviously this only applies if the cat is female). This inactivation happens once at a fixed stage in the cat's development; as the cat develops, these individual cells multiply and eventually the cat becomes a patchwork of coloration, some triggered by the paternal X and some by the maternal X chromosome.

    There's no way to predict this pattern, so two cats whose parents have different patterns of orange or black fur will always look different, and the clones of any one of these cats would all look different as well.

    And while this is a particularly colorful example of mosaicism, it in fact happens in all mammals, so female clones will always express different patterns of X-linked genetic traits.
  • Naturally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corvi42 ( 235814 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:03AM (#5135051) Homepage Journal
    I find it odd how so many continue believe this myth that clones are somehow identical carbon copies of each other. I don't know where this started, but a simple look into nature will show you that it can't possibly be so.

    Look at identical ( monozygotic ) twins. Twins of this type are as close as you will ever be able to "duplicate" someone. They share the same DNA, as they are produced from the same egg and same sperm in conjunction. They shared the same womb environment, and all forces that shaped one in the fetal stages of development would also have occured to the other. In the cases where they are not given up for adoption, they share the same family & early childhood environmental influences. It is true that there can be slight differences, it is often true that parents will ( often unconsciously ) treat one twin differently from the other, viewing one as "the strong one" and the other as weak. Even in the womb, there can be slight differences, where one gets a kind of biological "preferencial treatment" receiving slightly more nutrients, oxygen, etc. than the other. But they are as close as can ever be made by anyone.

    Now compare this with a clone. Certainly they share the same DNA - but under most circumstances they do not share the same fetal environment or the same early developmental environment. Even if they are born to the same mother and raised in the same place, simply the difference in time between when one is born and the other can yield significantly larger differences. Beyond all that, those who study such things regularly say that only about 40-50% of what we would consider to be the "fundamental characteristics" of a person is determined by genetics, the rest of it being some mix of individual experience combined with individual decisions. Ie: genetic factors only account for 40-50% of the variation between individuals.

    So we can easily see that twins ought to be much more alike than clones. Yet we know that even identical twins are often not carbon copies. They may look nearly identical, but they often have quite different personalities. True that there are cases where identical twins seem nearly mirror images of each other, and strange tales of those who are seperated at birth and find that years later they have lived almost parallel lives, but that is by far the minority. As for such ridiculous things as "what happens to your soul if you get cloned?" - noone ever worry about the souls or "essential personality" of twins as being a philosophical problem, so why clones?
  • by vudufixit ( 581911 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:35AM (#5135349)
    Is named BCC
  • by bmcent1 ( 598227 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:55AM (#5135505)
    IANAB, I think I'm correct on this point. (Someone else in the know please elaborate.) A major point most people overlook when they talk about cloning is mitochondrial DNA. Mammalian cloning so far has only used the DNA extracted from the nucleus of the doner (original ?) animal. There is also a whole bunch of mitochondrial DNA that is floating around in the cells of that doner that they don't get and use. Further more, the egg that the DNA is inserted into contains its original mitrochondrial DNA. So, while the nuclear DNA may be a match, the mitochondrial DNA is not... Its not a perfect copy.
  • Well DUH (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maeryk ( 87865 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @11:57AM (#5135520) Journal
    Anyone who knows a set of identical twins should have been able to predict this out of the box.

    I know two sets.. and both of them were raised in identical environments, however each is quite distinct from their sibling in a million ways.


    How could _any_ rational person think that a clone of your old dog would know you and know the old tricks when it was born? They said it TWICE in the article, which makes me think someone somewhere thinks this is possible.

    • Re:Well DUH (Score:3, Informative)

      by Plug ( 14127 )
      The main point is that the two cats, whilst being genetically identical at an embrionic stage, look totally different.

      Identical twins are that - identical - as much as you treat them differently you can look at them and see the resemblance fairly instantly. These two cats -look- like any two random cats. You wouldn't even pick them as parent and child.

      You'd expect a clone and its 'parent' to act differently, sure, but the point that Hollywood wants you to believe is a clone will 'look' identical.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN