Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Questions about clones

Civil Questions:
Do they get a birth certificate?
Would the clone be afforded the same human rights as everyone under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
If the family split and the issue of child support arose, would a clone be applicable to the same laws as a proper human?

The questions above have the same answer, animals do not have birth certificates or extended rights. If we decide that clones afford the same rights as do naturally born humans then it would be the case that they are issue birth certificates. Also it's very hard to make a mature clone, you'll have to start from scratch i.e. the year 0. The idea of accelerated growth is actually rather stupid as I'll explain later.

Does the scientist that created the clone have any say in its life and would the scientist be able to claim parentage later on down the line?

This depends on how the clone was grown mostly clones are grown to infancy and, depending of the situation as above, the clone legal guardian would be the one who gets the say. Otherwise it brings up the question of ownership i.e. who owns your DNA? Most probably your next of kin.

Scientific/Medical Questions

How would you ensure the clone had the same memories and experiences as the original person?

You cant, given the current state of the art and given what we know about the brain this would potentially be very difficult.

Would the clone look exactly the same as the original if they had the same DNA?Would the clone be suspectible to the same history of illnesses/baldnesses as the family that hosted its DNA?
If the original was gay, would the clone be too?If the original was prone to certain psychosis or was bipolar or had mental health issues would these manifest in a clone?

These questions can be group together. The clone would be a genetically identical copy and so would suffer from the same genetic defects as the doner. Any congenital diseases would be shared. However the issue of appearance, sexuality and mental health are a little more grey. An useful way to view this is to consider identical twins. While identical twins very rarely share exactly the same DNA (due to random mutation) researches have used this to make some good assumtions about the development of these features.

In terms of appearance there will certainly be significant similarities and may also appear to de identical. There will however be un avoidable differences which will be more apparent depending on age. The longer we live the more our environment/lifestyle has an effect on our appearance. Also the conditions during maturnity can have a effect on our outward appearance.
It has been long accepted that sexuality is defined prior to birth, and while not congenital genetics has not been ruled out. However, it is far more widely accepted that it is as a result of growth in the womb but as to the exact process it is unknown. This theory is supported by why there exists identical twins where one in gay.

In terms of mental health there is a mixture of all the above, some disorders are genetic, while other develope in the womb and others are triggered or developed at childhood or even later.
So as you can see, our genetic makeup is only the catalyst for who we become and why perfect clones will be unlikely and why accelerated growth/ incubation is a stupid idea.

Star Wars Questions
Does Star Wars: The Clone Wars have any of these answers?

Only smarties have the answer.

Is George Lucas a clone?

Yep, no way is that beard real.

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