Re: clone your perfect mate - order now! (please allow one generation for delivery)

Hal Finney (
Thu, 17 Dec 1998 23:50:29 -0800

Crutch, <>, writes:
> if clones become a preferrable alternative to children, it seems that all
> physical evolution would suddenly come to a virtual stand-still . . .
> no losses . . no gains. . . just the same genetic material over and
> over . . ..

Think about it, though. Evolution takes millions of years to operate. (You get some selection effects over shorter periods, but true evolution in the sense of speciation and major functional changes takes this much time.) In order for cloning to make an impact on evolution, it would have to go on for millions of years.

But if we have the technology to clone, we would very shortly have the technology to do other forms of genetic engineering. We could make changes in a few decades that would take millions of years for natural evolution.

As long as we remain a technological civilization, natural evolution will no longer be a significant factor in determining the future growth of the human race. We will be taking those matters into our own hands. Cloning is just one of the first of the technologies which we will use to exert this control.

> Since clones would basically be 'us', they must be given the same
> basic rights etc. as everyone else.. . . including the right to breed. .
> ..
> right?

Well, of course! You wouldn't support preventing twins from breeding, would you? They are genetically identical (effectively), just like clones.

> Can a 'clone' of yourself be manipulated to the opposite sex?
> I imagine they must be able to be.. as regular humans can be...
> and the earlier in development this occurs the easier it is.. (pre-natal
> even)

>From what I remember of high school biology, males have an X and Y
chromosome and females have two X chromosomes. I would guess that you might be able to turn a male into a female by removing the Y and duplicating the X (maybe borrowing an X from another cell). Going in the other direction would be more difficult; you would have to synthesize a Y for someone who doesn't have one. In practice you might be able to borrow a Y from a male donor, but then you have two genetic sources (although the preponderance of the genetic material comes from only one of them).

> Want the truely 'perfect mate'? someone just like you?
> the answer is obvious... CREATE A FUCKABLE CLONE!!

Not impossible, perhaps. But keep in mind a few things: the clone is going to be quite a bit younger than you; in effect, she will be your daughter, and you would probably have to raise her as your own child. In effect, you are having a girl baby and raising her with the intention of having sex with her. At this point the incest taboo is going to cut in pretty strongly, although that may be a cultural meme which you can cast off.

>From her perspective, this nubile 20 year old has the option of marrying
her 40 year old, middle aged, balding, fat father whom she's thoroughly sick of, despite the fact that genetically they are very similar. How attractive can this be given all the hot 20 year old guys she can choose?

> Now, it turn it over to those with a better understanding of genetics . .
> .
> this sounds like ultimate inbreeding to me . . . is there danger in it?
> or is a couple like this only going to give birth to what is basically
> another clone?

That's a good question, which goes beyond my knowledge of biology. I believe there is normally some genetic shuffling which goes on when egg and sperm cells are created, so it is possible that the offspring will not actually have exactly the same genome, even though they all come from the same genetic material.

"Cloning" of embryonic cells has been possible for many years. Each cell from an embryo can itself grow into a new embryo. This can be repeated to produce a large number of animals, all genetically the same. However they will also all be of the same sex. I don't think we have the technology to manipulate chromosomes at the level which would be necessary to change the sex of an embryonic cell. But it would certainly be an interesting experiment to do so and let the resulting male/female nearly-identical twins breed.