Flutterby™! : Send in the Clones

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Send in the Clones

2003-01-22 17:08:46+00 by TC 8 comments

Eventhough they share the same DNA. Cloned cats are not identical. So would you wackos stop trying clone Hitler so you can put him on trial! It doesn't work that way! Cloned Hitler might be a nice guy but still certainly ugly.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-01-22 23:18:58+00 by: anser

My view is that if merely copying the DNA doesn't produce an identical individual, then DNA copying simply ISN'T CLONING - we haven't made a clone yet, we've just made copied-DNA critters.

Cloning doesn't fascinate people because we all walk around counting chromosomes in everyone we meet, it fascinates us because of the idea of an identical person. There is probably something (or things) else that you have to do BESIDES copying the DNA to produce an identical individual. When we figure those things out and learn to do them, then we will have created a clone.

#Comment made: 2003-01-23 14:00:56+00 by: John Anderson [edit history]

/me steps in and puts on the "PhD in Biology" hat

Actually, that's exactly what a "clone" is: two organisms, same DNA. Period, end of story.

Now, it is somewhat inconvenient that when you're dealing with, oh, say, mammals, that environmental influences during the development process and various other imprinting sorts of events have as much influence on the appearence and behavior of the organism as the DNA does (if not more). That doesn't change the fact that the two cats are still clones. That's what the word 'clone' means.

/me takes the hat back off and continues about his business

#Comment made: 2003-01-23 18:23:46+00 by: other_todd [edit history]

I'm with the gentleman formerly known as Mr. Anderson :)

This cat story was a "duh" story to me (and I didn't use it in my weblog) because it seems so obvious. We have people NOW with the same DNA and same environment - identical twins. You can bring up identical twins in the same house in the same way and knock yourself out trying to hand out symmetrical treatment, and yet sooner or later one is going to develop a quirk the other doesn't have. Maybe one day one is going to be nearly hit by an SUV and develop a fear of them or something. But it'll happen.

Now, let's consider the cats. They have the same DNA. Why don't they have the same coloration? Because cat fur patterns are only PARTIALLY determined by genetics. Conditions in the womb can affect it, as can conditions after birth. Dark-pointed cats, like Siamese, are heavily affected by temperature, for example; the extremities get dark because they're colder. If you shaved a Siamese's back and strapped an icepack to the shaved area the whole time the fur was growing back in, it'd come back black.

And the default cat pattern is tabby, but the range of variations on that is so huge that two-thirds of them are not recognizable as tabby. See The Book of the Cat, ed. Wright and Walters.

Why do they behave differently? One presumes they were raised differently. I haven't heard the backstory but at the very least I assume that CC has had an awful lot of excess attention lavished on it since its birth. Cats do notice these things, you know :)

#Comment made: 2003-01-24 00:10:06+00 by: TC

I guess I'm mostly preaching to the choir here but I read stories about people saving the DNA of their dead son in the hope of one day bringing him back and I want to cry at how hoplessly misguided they are. The cloning Hitler thing was something I heard on talk radio and some people were for it!!! My biggest anoyance is that therapeutic cloning is now under fire because of misunderstanding it. It's like stem cells all over again! grrrrrrrr

#Comment made: 2003-01-24 14:30:34+00 by: John Anderson

My biggest anoyance is that therapeutic cloning is now under fire because of misunderstanding it.

todd, the important thing to keep in mind is that this is just like any other science policy sort of issue: it's driven primarily by ideology and political agendas. The actual, real, honest-to-Ghu science is a very small part of it. (Logical reasoning is even smaller than that...)

/me takes off the "will opine cynically for food" hat and goes about his business

#Comment made: 2003-04-16 18:06:16.48452+00 by: heather [edit history]


#Comment made: 2003-04-16 19:37:49.256377+00 by: dexev


How hard would it be to "lock" articles here after they were dormant after two weeks (or whatever), and then require a 24(or 48, 72...) hour waiting period before new accounts could comment on locked articles? Just a thought...


#Comment made: 2003-04-16 20:47:41.444024+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh. Cool idea. Thanks, I'll look at that.