Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let's Clone Hitler

A long time ago, a book entitled, "Boys from Brazil," was published. It was written by Ira Levin and the story revolved around the quest to clone Adolf Hitler.

It was a good, thrilling story, but the book and the concept of cloning Hitler will always remain in the annals of fiction.

Does this mean that human reproductive cloning is impossible? Definitely not! But if it were possible to clone Hitler, it would be impossible to clone the exact madman that Hitler was.

Hitler's rise to become Germany's Chancellor and his eventual hate and murder of millions of people were not a result of genes, but rather a result of various circumstances, which included the environment in which he grew. Perhaps there was a degree of insanity in him which may have been genetic, but this is hardly enough to clone an exact replica of the leader of the Third Reich.

To do this, you would have to replicate the kind of education Hitler had, the kind of parental upbringing, the classmates and friends (or even enemies) he had, the kind of Germany Hitler grew up in, plus a host of myriad effects that caused Hitler to do what he did. But, then again, these wouldn't even be a guarantee. Who knows? To produce these effects might even raise a new Hitler who would become a pacifist.

Thus, to start ringing alarm bells that human reproductive cloning will produce new Charles Mansons, Josef Stalins, Adolf Hitlers or an army of blood thirsty Mongols is baseless.

While human reproductive cloning may seem to be at the periphery of science fiction, we should not allow science fiction to be the basis for understanding this remarkable biotechnology.

Let's continue to place human cloning under the light of scientific research and science fiction under our reading lamps.

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