April 12, 2024

Another reason why cloning probably won’t work

Most humans are chimeras

Human cloning – illegal around the world — is just a glimmer on the horizon of some rogue scientists. However, there are reasons why it might not work, in any case, says Dr Paul Knoepfler, on his blog, The Niche.

The popular supposition is that cloning will produce an exact physical duplicate of the person cloned. The Boys from Brazil, a novel and film from the late 70s, expresses this perfectly. In the 60s Dr Mengele cloned Hitler 94 times and sent the babies around the world to be adopted.

However, Knoepfler reminds his readers that contemporary research has shown that many people are actually chimeras; their cells carry a mixture of subtly different genetic codes:

This reality means that contrary to decades of dogma, not all of our cells have the same genomes. In fact, within our one body we can have many subtly different genomes. The variance may functionally be at a single gene or a combination. These genomic variances in one person mean that our cells have a certain degree of randomness and such variability may alter how our bodies function such as how our brains operate.

So the Hitler clones would have been different depending on which cell was selected to create the duplicated organism. In addition, there would be epigenetic and environmental differences which would result in further divergence from the original of Der Führer. “Of course,” he concludes, “the ethics of human reproductive cloning are not trivial as well, but keep in mind all you DIY cloners that you may not get what you wanted anyway due to chimerism.”

Creative commons