Send in the Clones

Posted on July 18, 2006

A new study concludes that human clones would feel just like regular, individual people. The study will be published in the journal of Social Science and Medicine. The BBC reports:
Co-author Dr Barbara Prainsack, from the University of Vienna, Austria, who worked with Professor Tim Spector, from the Twins Research Unit, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK, said: "The birth of Dolly the sheep triggered many questions about what it would be like to be a clone. "We don't have clones we can interview - but we do have identical twins." This interesting study reveals how we should not have any prejudiced feelings about the idea of genetically identical individuals living amongst us

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The scientists carried out 17 interviews of identical, non-identical and non-twin siblings. The identical twins said being a twin did not compromise their individuality - although they pointed out that people often had preconceptions that they were one of a pair rather than individuals. Those interviewed viewed being an identical twin as a blessing, and said they would not rather be a non-identical twin or a "singleton". They also said they believed their genes had no great bearing on their relationship with their twin and their identity.
Michael Keaton faced just such a dilemma in Multiplicity. A busy executive who cloned himself, he had just the problem that the British researchers described. His clones -- Doug 2, Doug 3 and Doug 4 -- each thought he was the real Doug. And so comedy ensued. Sort of. We're not exactly sure where this leaves us, really, but it's good that we know how to avoid all the cloning pitfalls before we place our order for PleasantMorningBuzz 1, 2 and 3.