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The Facts and Fiction of Cloning

Understanding the real science behind the headlines and the hubbub.

Cloning Doesn't Create a Twin

But there's another angle to cloning.

For some, the technology is seen not as a source for stem cells to cure disease, but as a last, best hope for biological offspring, or, mistakenly and tragically, as a means of "bringing back" a lost spouse, child, or other loved one.

First of all, says Griffin, "only about 1 to 2% of cloned animals make it to live birth." And you can't even extrapolate that number to humans, because cows and sheep get pregnant much more easily than do women. What's more, many animal clones die late in pregnancy, or early in life, he says.

Sure, there are healthy animal clones that appear to be normal. "But the tests of normality in animals are not particularly rigorous. From a safety point of view alone, no one should be attempting to clone a child," says Griffin.

Even if technology advances to the point where human reproductive cloning, as it's called, were a viable option -- and as you've seen, we're not even close -- anyone suggesting that cloning can duplicate an existing human being is just plain wrong, says Stice.

Identical twins are most certainly two different people -- they even have different fingerprints despite sharing 100% of their DNA. In the same way, your clone would be a unique individual.

In fact, says Stice, your clone would be "even less [like you] than your twin. Most twins are raised in similar environments, whereas a clone of an adult will most likely have different experiences and different environmental factors affecting them [as they grow]."

No matter how far science takes us, one thing is certain, people are simply not replaceable.


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