Jul 1, 2009

First Sheep, Then Dogs, Next Grandma


So I read the news that 9/11 search-and-rescue hero dog Trakr was cloned 5 times. Couldn't have happened to a nicer dog. He is not the only dog cloned either. If you have the dough a South Korean bio company will be more than happy to deliver you another Sparky, or five.

You know that human cloning will happen eventually. Not because it should, but because we are human, and we can't stop ourselves. It was unfair to give Pandora the gift of curiosity and a closed box.

I feel vaguely apprehensive about all this. There are of course all the moral and ethical concerns, and the legal ramifications should be interesting. But my source of unease is more of ruminative kind.

I've been wrecking my brain - and the internet - for movies involving clones, that are at all worth mentioning, I found them to be a mixed bag, from the woefully bad to wickedly good. Multiplicity with Michael Keaton turned out to be a lukewarm romantic comedy. The Island is an unimaginative mess of chase scenes, special effects and soggy plot directed by the dependably dreadful Michael Bay. Alien Resurrection was probably the most regrettable installment of the Alien(s) franchise. A huge disappointment considering that it was directed Jean-Pierre Jeunet - half of the French director duo of such wacky fun movies as Amélie and Delicatessen. On the other hand, the two of them made the darkly comic City of Lost Children, featuring several misshapen copies of Dominique Pinon. Definitely one of the good ones. So is the recent Moon. The 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is by now regarded as Cold War era horror/scifi classic, and even its 1978 remake got a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Probably the most interesting treatment of the relationship of clones were in Moon, where the two did not get along right away. Who said that you are compatible with your own self? Could your internal struggles become external if there were two of you?

What all those movies, good and bad, share is that their clones are always the same age as their originals. That's all fine and well for fiction, but that would require biotechnology to be able to accelerate growth/aging then slow it to normal speed at will. I don't think we are anywhere close to achieving that. Dogs of course reach maturity in a couple of years, but with humans it takes a couple of decades. That opens a whole another can of worms.


What if you decided to raise your own clone as your child? Maybe you'd think that you could protect your younger self from all the mistakes and missteps you made in life, and impart all the wisdom you learned from them. Would it work? I'm somehow doubtful. I don't think there is any guarantee that you would even get along with your own younger self. Would it be poetic justice having to be mother to your own teenage self?

I could go on, but my head hurts.

20 comments:

Cafe Pasadena said...

Cloning dogs (not felines) sounds like a good idea! This will help with our dog shortage.

Keep up this professionally written blog!

altadenahiker said...

Take a look Vanda. Same idea occurred to me.

http://altadenahiker.blogspot.com/2009/04/really-short-stories.html

I believe it would end horribly.

Lyn Hernandez said...

Very interesting.

Jennifer said...

Cloning is always a iffy discussion with me. Part of me thinks it is playing God, and then another part of me thinks it is kinda nifty because of how far technology has come.

Jean Spitzer said...

It would be interesting to find out how those people who had their darling dogs cloned, got along with the clones. It's by no means certain that even those relationships are great; never mind, human clones, if you expect them to duplicate the originals.

wv:comerfido: comerfido, I have a treat for you.

Vanda said...

CP, dog shortage? Hardly.

Karin, that's so funny! I swear I did not see that post of yours, but that's exactly I was thinking of. You should totally write that story.

Jennifer, I know how you feel.

Jean, I was wondering if they keep all the dogs. Can they love five dogs equally, or will there be favorites?

Fred said...

I agree. Why would anyone expect to be able to be more effective in raising a clone than in raising a child? Besides, we already have clones: they're called identical twins.

altadenahiker said...

I have a feeling someone must have thought of this before us -- maybe lots of someones. That, or we're both very anxious to raise ourselves.

WV: Pitic. Pitic, it seemed original.

Miz Robyn said...

I'm all for cloning healthy tissue and organs for transplant patients and those in need of medical care. I am not sure it's necessary to clone entire animals, or humans.

And, no, I'd not want to raise a teenage clone of myself, if her personality were the same. ;)

Great blog!

Margaret said...

Don't forget the three new Star Wars movies, especially the second one which is all about the "Clone Wars." It is sad that I know this, considering how bad that movie is.

Vanda said...

Margaret, I'm trying to forget ALL the Star Wars movies, even the original three. I wish I never saw them when they got re-released, so I can still remember them as I experienced them way back when.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

I laughed when I saw those shepherds again! I think a cannoli should be cloned for me right now, and someone needs to make sure that no DNA exists after Michael Bay leaves this earth.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

That is, Michael Bay DNA. Unfortunately, I think it's all over Hollywood.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

Thanks for posting that picture with the men and the strange flat clones or whatever. Take it down. How will I sleep tonight?

wv: forties

Vanda said...

Miss H, nightcap might help, no?

Josephine said...

"Could your internal struggles become external if there was two of you?"

I love that line. Excellent piece, very funny en well thought through. I also think you make a strong point by saying cloning will happen, not because it should but because we're human and we can't help ourselves. I think that's exactly why discussions about cloning humans being socially and ethically responsible/acceptable will turn out to be in vain. In the end, who cares if cloning humans is acceptable or not? We're curious about it, we've got to find out.

Caroliiine said...

you forgot about the cloning movie call The Sixth Day!!

Vanda said...

You are right, I did forget about it. I've never seen it, but have a feeling that it's not one of the better ones. I prefer Arnold as skin-coated robot.

pasadenaadjacent said...

two advil and then get back to us. If you had a clone this wouldn't be a issue

Lovvved the "Sparky's"

Lucy said...

Enjoyed your blog! Nice and interesting pictures you have.