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To Clone or Not to Clone?

In fiction? No problem!

DNA strands

Cloning came up in Found Girl. And since this is a series arc, or supposed to be (see my ‘why I wrote interview’), it had to come up in Lost Valyr, too. Because I write fiction, I can push the boundaries of science, but…

While it’s possible to make genetic copies of organisms, it’s impossible to create a perfect clone that’s one and the same on the quantum level. It’s been mathematically proven. So, a clone is more like an exceptionally good copy.

The way cloning is done, you take two cells from the same animal. The first one is an egg cell that you’ve removed the DNA from. Then, you take the DNA from the other somatic cell and put it in the first egg cell. That egg cell will deliver offspring genetically identical to the parent cell.

Cloning is easy in some species but it’s incredibly difficult in humans and other primates though we can now clone human cells. Two female macaques: Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were recently cloned in China. But even though we’re closer, it’s still a leap from primates to humans. 

Many predict that by 2020 we will have the technical ability to clone a human, but should we? There are health risks associated with cloning and there are real ethical concerns. Would clones be citizens or be used for harvesting organs, etc? 

One way to explore ideas is through fiction. The movie that first got me thinking about clones was called Anna to the Infinite Power. It was about a girl who realizes she is the clone of a brilliant scientist. Books and movies are, in my opinion, safe places where we can explore difficult topics, play out scenarios that can expose real problems and risks before we mess up the whole world. 

Now there are days when I wished I had a clone or two of myself to help me run my business while I write books. Except that any clone of me would probably want to be the one to do the writing, too. 

What do you think about cloning? 

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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