#1 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

The news that researchers have used cloning to make human embryos for the purpose of producing stem cells may have some people wondering if it would ever be possible to clone a person.

Although it would be unethical, experts say it is likely biologically possible to clone a human being. But even putting ethics aside, the sheer amount of resources needed to do it is a significant barrier.

Since the 1950s when researchers cloned a frog, scientists have cloned dozens of animal species, including mice, cats, sheep, pigs and cows.

In each case, researchers encountered problems that needed to be overcome with trial and error, said Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at the biotech company Advanced Cell Technology, which works on cell therapies for human diseases, and has cloned animals.

With mice, researchers were able to use thousands of eggs, and conduct many experiments, to work out these problems, Lanza said. "It’s a numbers game," he said.

But with primates, eggs are a very precious resource, and it is not easy to acquire them to conduct experiments, Lanza said.

In addition, researchers can't simply apply what they've learned from cloning mice or cows to cloning people.

For instance, cloning an animal requires that researchers first remove the nucleus of an egg cell. When researchers do this, they also remove proteins that are essential to help cells divide, Lanza said. In mice, this isn't a problem, because the embryo that is ultimately created is able to make these proteins again. But primates aren't able to do this, and researchers think it may be one reason that attempts to clone monkeys have failed, Lanza said. [See How Stem Cell Cloning Works (Infographic)]

What's more, cloned animals often have different kinds of genetic abnormalities that can prevent embryo implantation in a uterus, or cause the fetus to spontaneously abort, or the animal to die shortly after birth, Lanza said.

These abnormities are common because cloned embryos have just one parent rather than two, which means that a molecular process known as "imprinting" does not occur properly in cloned embryos, Lanza said. Imprinting takes place during embryo development, and selectively silences certain genes from one parent or the other.

Problems with imprinting can result in extremely large placentas, which ultimately leads to problems with blood flow for the fetus, Lanza said. In one experiment, Lanza and colleagues cloned a species of cattle called banteng, and it was born at twice the size of a normal banteng. It had to be euthanized, Lanza said.

The extremely high rate of death, and the risk of developmental abnormities from cloning makes cloning people unethical, Lanza said.

"It's like sending your baby up in a rocket knowing there's a 50-50 chance it's going to blow up. It's grossly unethical," Lanza said.

#2 Edited by joshmightbe (24876 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes they can clone a person, probably in the same manner as they've cloned sheep.

#3 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes they can clone a person, probably in the same manner as they've cloned sheep.

true but what of ethics and would the clone be the same or different of the original? would you accelerate the age or make the clone grow up normally?

#4 Edited by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

Probably, but the clones wouldn't come out... right. Ethical or not, the last thing we need is more people. Then again, an army of me would be awesome.

#5 Posted by joshmightbe (24876 posts) - - Show Bio

@umbrafeline: I didn't say they should, just that they can. Its the same principle as I can smoke crack but I won't cause its a bad idea.

#6 Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf (7027 posts) - - Show Bio

We are capable of cloning humans. The problem, like the article mentions, is that the procedure is not perfect. Dolly, the cloned sheep, was a single success out of over 100 failures and even then Dolly had numerous health and genetic issues. Though if we do manage to perfect a cloning procedure, we can finally look into the nurture vs nature debate. It might be highly unethical, but we could then clone two people and separate them and place them in an experiment to see which is superior, your environment or your genetics.

Despite this cloning dilemma, scientists have already been able to grow human organs and limbs from petri dishes. So using clones for spare parts might not happen in the future, since growing the parts you need is more economical than raising a whole individual.


Even more recent people have had transplants done where they are given artificially grown organs, instead of donor organs.


#7 Edited by SupremeHyperion (1523 posts) - - Show Bio

some would say a human has already been cloned (dun, dunn, dunnnnnnn). no really, people say they have done it. if you can clone animals why would you not be able to clone other animals (we are just animals)

#8 Posted by ARMIV2 (8434 posts) - - Show Bio

Could we? Probably. Should we? My gut's telling me no.

#9 Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf (7027 posts) - - Show Bio

Blah, people need to be funding stem cell research over cloning. Cloning is such a stupid idea anyways.

#10 Posted by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

@omgomgwtfwtf: A bad trait many people, especially scientists share is that they do something simply because they can. Some people con't realoze the repercussions though. Things like cloning should be left alone. Same goes to time travel if that ever turns out to be possible.

#11 Posted by Jokergeist (4935 posts) - - Show Bio

Why not? Naruto does it all the time...


#12 Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf (7027 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: I just never understood the point of cloning in my honest opinion. I understand that some people want to do it just because they can, and that is a horrible reason for doing so. But it's a flawed concept, why clone someone, when you can make them even better?

#13 Posted by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

@omgomgwtfwtf: I just think this should all be left alone. What are they going to do with the clone? Let it free? Kill it? Observe it? It's a huge waste of time

#14 Posted by snarkybits (335 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope so.

Cobralalalalalalala and all that...

#15 Edited by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

Part of me thinks that somewhere researchers have already done it

#16 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio
#17 Posted by Irishlad (572 posts) - - Show Bio

Part of me wants to say let's do it for science.

But as awesam pointed out the last thing we need is more humans.

The whole nature vs nurture debate will never truly be answered as well even with clones since there have been cases of identical twins growing up in the same home and one being a murderer while the other growing up to be a teacher.