Re: The Cloning Debate (again)

Harvey Newstrom (
Sun, 11 Jan 1998 12:46:43 -0500

>Tinkering with human DNA to make Ubermenschen, or microcephalic clones for
>transplants is not viable with the shotgun genetic engineering approach we
>are now limited to.

I agree. My prediction for clones is that Dolly and other current clones
will succumb to rapid aging and die of old age at roughly the same time as
their parent. DNA has telomeres on the end of them that act as null-genes.
The ends of the DNA get lost through copying. More and more of the
telomeres are lost through repeated copying, until finally real genetic
information gets lost. I think this is the cause of old age and cancer. A
clone's DNA copy that comes from an adult animal starts off with a reduced
telomere set. It is already advanced toward the genetic loss that I think
causes old age. Thus, a cloned cell has the same number of replications
left as did the original cell. No increase of lifespan is imparted to the
clone with current technology.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto:>
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