Ever have one of those days where you wish you could create a full-sized clone of yourself to help with all the work you have to do? What about creating clones to go off to war in place of “real” men and women so that we don’t have to lose so many to war?
Well, on Fringe, someone came up with a way to not only make clones, but rapidly age them. Of course, there were some pretty nasty side effects. And yes, Dr. Walter Bishop was involved in the initial research decades before.
In the episode, “The Same Old Story”, there is a young man, who as it turns out, is a clone who is rapidly aging and needs to kill young women, take their pituitary gland and create a formula to slow his aging. From watching the episode, we find out that he was an experiment that someone hired his “father” to create.
So the question is, is it possible to rapidly age a human clone?
First off, there are three types of cloning: Therapeutic, Reproductive and Replacement. The first is reproducing cells, the second full human cloning and the third, creation of specific parts of the body to replace in a person.
The first and third types of cloning are more readily accepted. However, the second, Reproductive, is not. With this type of cloning, one would create and entire human.
There are a myriad of problems that have yet to be conquered by scientists in the area of cloning. The Human Genome Project has a lot of great information regarding cloning, so I won’t go into all of the arguments against it.
But if someone was successful in creating a cloned human, would it be possible to rapidly age the clone to adulthood? In this episode, they state that the pituitary gland is the culprit for Progeria. The truth of the matter is, that Progeria actually is a result of a mutated gene, not the gland. So if this is the case, scientists would have to purposely mess with the gene to induce rapid aging.
As Dr. Bishop states in the show, the experiments were scrapped because they couldn’t find a way to turn off the rapid aging.However, ethical issues notwithstanding, so far it seems that this particular idea in the show is purely fictional.
Of course, at one time, so was space travel until Jules Verne started writing about it.
Join me next week when the possibility of a shared dream state.
- Understanding the Function of the Pituitary Gland (biology.answers.com)
- Reuters Video: Neanderthal cloning possible but ethically in question (englishblog.com)
As you all know, I love science fiction. I would go so far as to say, that I champion this genre. Most of the books that I read are in this genre because I just can’t get enough of it. And one of the ways that I find great sci-fi novels and authors to read is by reading the reviews by one of my friends, Thomas Evans. His blog “The Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy” has been a great source of entertainment and has greatly increased my reading list. I look forward to his reviews with great anticipation. And I look forward to him releasing his book series with even greater eagerness.
Sit back, relax and grab a cup of Joe and enjoy the ride.
I must say what a pleasure and honor it is to write for Yolanda’s blog. I’ve been enjoying it ever since her work first came to my attention, and look forward to each installment.
But fortunately, the answer was given to me by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. Le Guin.
Thus, I came up with a second answer: Science Fiction has always been dark. Mary Shelly hardly painted a happy view of human nature with Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus. Neither did H.G. Wells’ work depict shiny happy futures. The Time Machine showed how wars would destroy society. War of the Worlds was a biting commentary on the nature of Imperialism that showed humanity brought low by an alien race treating our species in the manner that the West treated indigenous populations around the world, etc. Even the generally more optimistic Jules Verne wrote about the dark side of humanity:20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea was commentary about social oppression with a terrorist at its heart (yes… yes indeed, Captain Nemo was a terrorist carrying out piratical attacks against the great powers of the world… is that a happy story? Me thinks not).
Yesterday I started reading “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell. In only the first chapter I’ve been able to see the amazing inspiration this novel and author have had on modern science fiction movies and our society. The images that his amazingly descriptive writing invokes are stunning. In the first few pages, I’ve seen the visuals from movies such as “V for Vendetta”, “Equilibrium” and “Aeon Flux“.
Two days ago, I watched a program on the Science Channel about the prophetic stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the Fathers of Science Fiction. These men had fantastic imaginations, were intelligent enough to pick the brains of learned men of science, and created machines of their future that they didn’t necessarily live to see come to fruition. As a matter of fact, H.G. Wells died angry at the world because we had used nuclear weapons for destruction. He had foretold with his novel “The Time Machine” the use of nuclear weapons which would decimate the world. He did his very best to show us the fears of the future. While Jules Verne showed us the potential wonders that were to come.
The sad thing is, though, Wells gave scientists the idea for creating the H-bomb. So one could postulate that, if he hadn’t written about it would it have taken scientists longer to figure it out? Would Hiroshima have been bombed? The world will never know.
Jules Verne predicted that we would go to the moon in his novel, “From the Earth to the Moon”. He even described how we’d get there. Most of what he wrote about has come to pass or is in the process of doing so. He was the first to suggest that people would venture to the bottom of the ocean to explore and live there in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea“.
Science Fiction has been used to give voice, to the world at large, of possible things to come. If you look at many of the technological advances mentioned in the Star Trek franchise, you’ll see how far we’ve come. Kirk’s communicator became our cell phones. The computers on the desks of Captain Piccard and Data became our laptop computers. Dr. McCoy and Dr. Crusher used Hypo sprays to give people shots. These hypodermic injections actually exist. They shoot up under the skin instead of into the skin.
So what’s my point, you ask? My point is that Science Fiction has opened the doors to so many of the most amazing technological advances of our time. Imagination and curiosity have fueled our desire to ask, What If?
Brilliant men such as Verne, Wells, Huxley, Orwell, and Roddenberry have stoked the curiosities and imaginations of so many scientists over the past seventy years. They also warned of the potential for devastation and destruction. With science fiction there has been balance which shows us who we truly are and what we are capable of: good, bad and baboon-butt ugly.