Sunday, September 05, 2004
Dr. Zavos Wants to Clone the Dead, Part 3 - ID's, Please 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
While some have pointed out there are more more pressing issues in blogdom, I must say the ongoing cloning conversation with Positive Liberty has been both stimulating and enlightening. I posted this comment on Jason's post responding to "Update on Cloning":
[Two commenters] bring up the very good point that parents who would choose to clone either a deceased family member - or themselves - may already be bringing a strong element of conformity and prior expecation to the parenting relationship, which would express itself regardless of their child's genetic provenance. True, and not in itself a reason to oppose cloning.

An interesting experiment - interesting, but likely not ethical - would be to raise a "single-blinded" cloned child - i.e. neither the family nor the child would know that they are cloned, but the genetic lab would know. I'm sure the child would be brought up as any other, and be as psychologically healthy (or unhealthy) as any other child that family would have raised. Medical issues aside, this would give researchers and bioethicists a control point to review the long-term effects separate from familial "cloning expectations."

From a legal and criminal justice perpective, cloning presents unique problems. Granted, there have been a few cases where an identical twin has been wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the other - or both. The Will/William West case cast widespread doubt on the infallibility of Alphonse Bertillon's anthropometric identification method when two identical-looking men (incarcerated separately) were discovered at the same US penitentiary, both having exactly the same biometric measurements. After the West case, fingerprinting gradually became accepted as the new legal identity standard. Will and William West were later discovered to be identical twins separated at birth.

This detail isn't intended as an indictment of cloning, per se, but I can see how the validity of today's DNA identification would gradually become legally useless (a la Bertillon's anthropometry) if cloning becomes widespread - for example, a defendant could always claim "the clone did it!" if the non-existence of one's clone somewhere in the world could be hard to rule out.
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