VOLOKH at LAW.UCLA.EDU
Tue Mar 4 10:34:51 PST 1997
1) To respond to Jim Maule, we are pushing the boundary of the
list topic, but it's such a fascinating topic -- and so much on
everyone's mind -- that it just seems a shame to pass it up. I was
hoping that, with the other list members' forbearance, we might
continue this thread for a while (without prejudice to my power to
scowl the next time there's a digression on some other subject :-) ).
2) I'm not a biologist, but as I understand it "adult cloning" --
the creation of a duplicate of an adult person, with the same
memories, beliefs and the like -- is pure fantasy. I hate to say
anything in science is "impossible," but I think this comes pretty
close. It's possible to copy a person's genetic code and create a
new baby out of it; it's not possible to copy the contents of a
3) To the best of my knowledge, the cloning that's being
discussed now is quite analogous to the creation of an infant
Imagine that your parents come to you and say: "Guess what,
junior -- when you were conceived, you were actually one of a pair of
identical twins. We had one of the fertilized eggs extracted and
frozen, but now we've reimplanted it in a host mother, and you have a
bouncing baby identical twin sibling, though of course one much
younger than you." (Warning: This is not possible with today's
technology, but I don't think it's out of the question.)
That's exactly what you'd get with a clone, except that
the decision to have this clone twin would be yours.
Thus, you and the clone would no more lack a separate identity
than two identical twins lack a separate identity; in fact, because
you'll have been brought up so differently (and at such different
times), your personalities will probably vary even more than do the
personalities of identical twins.
Please correct me if I'm mistaken.
Jim Maule writes:
> There are some other interesting issues. Must someone obtain a birth
> certificate for the clone? For an adult clone, would the process be
> more like that for someone emigrating to this country? If I am
> married, is my clone single?
> Science has not answered a lot of questions that would have an impact
> on the questions you ask. If I and my clone are identical, do we have
> the same conscience, the same beliefs, the same thoughts, the same
> dreams? If the clone comes into existence as a newborn, I think the
> answer would be no, because the experiences would be different (I
> watched the first moon landing; the clone didn't, but would the
> clone's brain cells already have my memories in them?) If the clone
> was created as an adult, would its "life until that point" be the
> same as mine in terms of memories, beliefs, etc.?
> Of course, some would say, "there's only one way to find out....."
> Do you think the faculty would buy "Cloning and the Law" as a course?
> This is a serious question. Certainly as a seminar, I would guess.
> Anyone know if anyone is going in that direction?
> OK, I know this pushes at the boundary of the list topic. Maybe a
> clonelaw listserve would be useful?
-- Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law
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