Cloning  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In biology, cloning is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms. The term also refers to the production of multiple copies of a product such as digital media or software.

The term clone is derived from the Ancient Greek word κλών klōn, "twig", referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig. In horticulture, the spelling clon was used until the twentieth century; the final e came into use to indicate the vowel is a "long o" instead of a "short o". Since the term entered the popular lexicon in a more general context, the spelling clone has been used exclusively.

In botany, the term lusus was traditionally used.

In popular culture

In an article in the 8 November 1993 article of Time, cloning was portrayed in a negative way, modifying Michelangelo's Creation of Adam to depict Adam with five identical hands. Newsweek's 10 March 1997 issue also critiqued the ethics of human cloning, and included a graphic depicting identical babies in beakers.

Cloning is a recurring theme in a wide variety of contemporary science fiction, ranging from action films such as Jurassic Park (1993), The 6th Day (2000), Resident Evil (2002), Star Wars (2002) and The Island (2005), to comedies such as Woody Allen's 1973 film Sleeper.

Science fiction has used cloning, most commonly and specifically human cloning, due to the fact that it brings up controversial questions of identity. A Number is a 2002 play by English playwright Caryl Churchill which addresses the subject of human cloning and identity, especially nature and nurture. The story, set in the near future, is structured around the conflict between a father (Salter) and his sons (Bernard 1, Bernard 2, and Michael Black) – two of whom are clones of the first one. A Number was adapted by Caryl Churchill for television, in a co-production between the BBC and HBO Films.

A recurring sub-theme of cloning fiction is the use of clones as a supply of organs for transplantation. The 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel Never Let Me Go and the 2010 film adaption are set in an alternate history in which cloned humans are created for the sole purpose of providing organ donations to naturally born humans, despite the fact that they are fully sentient and self-aware. The 2005 film The Island revolves around a similar plot, with the exception that the clones are unaware of the reason for their existence.

The use of human cloning for military purposes has also been explored in several works. Star Wars portrays human cloning in Clone Wars.

The exploitation of human clones for dangerous and undesirable work was examined in the 2009 British science fiction film Moon. In the futuristic novel Cloud Atlas and subsequent film, one of the story lines focuses on a genetically-engineered Fabricant Clone named Sonmi~451 who is one of millions raised in an artificial "wombtank," destined to serve from birth. She is one of thousands of clones created for manual and emotional labor; Sonmi herself works as a server in a restaurant. She later discovers that the sole source of food for clones, called 'Soap', is manufactured from the clones themselves.

Cloning has been used in fiction as a way of recreating historical figures. In the 1976 Ira Levin novel The Boys from Brazil and its 1978 film adaptation, Josef Mengele uses cloning to create copies of Adolf Hitler.

In 2012, a Japanese television show named "Bunshin" was created. The story's main character, Mariko, is a woman studying child welfare in Hokkaido. She grew up always doubtful about the love from her mother, who looked nothing like her and who died nine years before. One day, she finds some of her mother's belongings at a relative's house, and heads to Tokyo to seek out the truth behind her birth. She later discovered that she was a clone.

In the 2013 television show Orphan Black, cloning is used as a scientific study on the behavioral adaptation of the clones. In a similar vein, the book The Double by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago explores the emotional experience of a man who discovers that he is a clone.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cloning" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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