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Human Cloning Possible Within 50 Years, Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Claims 233

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the possibility of having another you in the future. "Human cloning could happen within the next half century, claims a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Sir John Gurdon, the British developmental biologist whose research cloning frogs in the 1950s and 60s led to the later creation of Dolly the sheep in 1996, believes that human cloning could happen within the next 50 years. He said that parents who lose their children to tragic accidents might be able to clone replacements in the next few decades. Gurdon, who won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, said that while any attempts to clone a human would likely raise complex ethical issues, he believes that in the near future people would overcome their concerns if cloning became medically useful."
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Human Cloning Possible Within 50 Years, Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Claims

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:16AM (#42357247)

    You may be able to recreate a human with the exact same genetic material as its source, but that doesn't mean creating another you. The butterfly effect applies in the womb (or whatever replacement they will be using for it) - the brain will develop slightly differently in individuals, even if genetic material is 100% identical. Thus, identical twins may well have slightly different characters (one good, one evil). Also, this clone of yours will never have had the exact set of experiences that you did, and therefore will develop differently.

    Also, I may be biased but I think the old fashioned way of creating humans is more fun.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:22AM (#42357277)

    Grieving parents are not the most rational decision makers. It's quite possible that there will be a scientist of dubious morality somewhere in one of the less regulated countries willing to produce a clone, and grieving parents who will hand over their life savings for even the slimmest chance of recapturing just a hint of the child they lost.

  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:32AM (#42357319) Journal

    The only kind of human cloning I think I'd really like to see is cloning for organ farming, either cloning an entire (brainless, presumably) copy of myself so I have an entire inventory of replacement organs, or cloning individual organs as the need arises. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to grow a whole new me whose body is, say, 20 years old, and then transfer my brain into the new body. Still have to solve the problem of the brain itself decaying, but once we figure that out, the world can enjoy my rapier wit forever!

  • by bugnuts ( 94678 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:39AM (#42357357) Journal

    I need to farm a new heart with no chance of rejection.

    See? The ethical issues aren't complex at all!

  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:40AM (#42357361) Journal

    Right, cloning pets is completely different because... pets aren't humans!

    Not trying to come across as some kind of blubbering sentimentalist, but yeah, that's exactly it. I wouldn't call humans "special snowflakes", but yes, humans are different when it comes to things like this, and the ethical questions that must be answered are a superset of those we must answer for other animals.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:04AM (#42357703)
    I wouldn't say 'slight differences'. Even raised in the same environment, and sharing many of the same experiences, identical twins are not identical. Nobody would argue that they are two different people.
    Obviously a clone may share appearances with their DNA donor, but would have a totally different environment and experiences. They would probably be nothing alike outside of their overall appearance.

    Saying that parents could replace a dead offspring is a horrible and deceitful thing to say. The clone would be a new person that only looked like the dead one. The parents would be torturing themselves by having a constant reminder of the dead child in the image of a new one that definitely isn't the prior one. As to the poor clone, it would be always having to live up to the expectations others have based on a dead child. You thought you had a problem living in the shadow of your older siblings, just imagine the horror of living in the shadow of a dead child you were cloned from.;

    I'm not against cloning, but it needs to be done for the correct reason, and people need to understand that the clones are new individuals that have nothing to do with their donor other than sharing a genetic heritage, just like you. You see, you are essentially a hybrid clone derived from 2 donors. It's not an exact analogy, but it's close enough. Kind of funny how that works out.
  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) < minus pi> on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:26AM (#42358397) Homepage

    > We used to appreciate the need for a strong nuclear family. I don't
    > know when that changed... probably before I realized it... I grew up
    > rather old fashioned and still think like that most of the time.

    For a rather short period of time. The "nuclear family" was probably never the best of ideas, and definitely a modern one. There is ample evidence that living in extended families has huge benefits, not the least of which is the resulting serious decrease in mental health issues (believed to be due to growing up with a larger support network).

    In an extended family, there are just plain more people to watch the kids, more people to teach them. Its better for the kids, better for the parents, better for the older generations.

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) < minus pi> on Friday December 21, 2012 @11:44AM (#42360019) Homepage

    I never said there was anything wrong with it.

    Now is there? Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. I think it depends on other circumstances.

    If you live in their house and basically live off them, then I tend to think that, unless you have a disability that prevents you from helping (and help could be paying rent), that your situation deserves every bit of the stigma that it has.

    If you live with them because of a bad situation, trouble finding a job etc, hey family is family, we help eachother through tough times.

    If you are productive, maybe paying rent or at least taking part in keeping the place running and making sure that they get as much benefit from you being there as you do from them being there... then I think that's a great situation.

    Imagine you have kids... your kids get to grow up knowing your parents, your parents get to grow up knowing them, much more than even if they just lived a few streets away. On top of that you get instant baby sitters, extra eyes and helping hands with all of the chores around raising your kids. Quite literally, everybody wins.

    Obviously this isn't a win for everybody...if you have abusive parents or a particularly toxic relationship with them, its not going to work, but on average, I do think its superior.

BLISS is ignorance.