X-Message-Number: 7747
Subject: Of Sheep And Men
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 20:11:23 -0500
From: "Perry E. Metzger" <>

> From: Peter Merel <>
> Subject: Of Sheep And Men
> Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 21:05:17 +1100 (EST)
> I expect almost everyone here has heard the news from Britain: a live
> adult sheep has been cloned. The clone is fertile, and pregnant.

Actually, the clone is not pregnant. The New York Times notes that it
is as yet unknown if it is fertile.

> This raises a profound dilemma for those cryo-orgs that have undertaken
> to freeze tissue samples on the basis that they will eventually thaw the
> cells and produce clones from them.  On the one hand, this now being
> practicable, they must be seen to do their utmost to fulfill their
> clients' wishes, or else their other clients may doubt their goodwill.
> On the other, assuming the problems of obtaining willing surrogates and
> IVF personnel can be surmounted, this activity can only draw the most
> unsympathetic attention from the press, the medical industry, and legislators
> A general question to the orgs then: what do you intend to do with
> cloning technology now that it is available to you?

The technology is not yet available. Presuming the Scottish sheep
cloning experiment is real (probable, but the experiment hasn't been
reproduced yet -- we have only one sheep) and that there are no odd
unforseen problems (like the hayflick telomere clock not having been
reset in the fused egg/adult mammal cells, etc), we may -- MAY -- soon
have this problem in certain limited cases. I'm actually not aware of
cryo orgs that are simply freezing tissue for cloning, but there may
be such -- my knowledge of such things is limited.

My comment is very simple. Cryonics organizations should fulfill their
contractual obligations. They are under no obligation to do so loudly
or with any publicity, however. 

If in five years the technology is mature enough (a big if given all
the hypotheticals) and if there are cryonics organizations with
cloning only patients (a possible hypothetical -- I honestly don't
know), then the cryonics organizations with such patients should
quietly seek professionals and surrogates to perform the procedures,
preferably out of the country and with all involved having signed
confidentiality agreements. Who should raise the children in question?
Well, there are rarely any shortages of families seeking adoptive
children, and they generally get minimal information about the
biological parents of the child, anyway.

Who was it that said "The future always arrives unexpectedly and in
the wrong order"? Brunner?


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