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)