Re: cloning protection technology

Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 23:16:06 MDT

Wei Dai writes:
> I wonder if we might see anti-cloning technology that actually would work.
> For example a genetically engineered self-destruct mechansism that causes
> a cell's DNA to be wiped as soon as it is detached from the body. How
> feasible would this be?

David Zindell's Neverness series has characters very worried about
the crime of having their DNA stolen and clones made, which they call
"slelling". It wasn't clear to me what the big deal was though.

Maybe a far-sighted crimintal should go around now and yank some hair
out of passing celebrities (DNA in the hair roots) and freeze it for
later use.

As for technological counter-measures, shutting down the DNA would
presumably kill the cell, so you wouldn't want to make it too sensitive.
In most systems false alarms are far more common than real ones, and it
would be embarrassing to die because of a glitch in whatever mechanism
told your cells they were still part of your body.

Therefore any self destruct will probably take some time to operate,
and it is possible that it could be frozen and/or disabled by the thief
before it manages to destroy the DNA. It sounds like a difficult problem
to do well.


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