Human 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.

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning, which is the reproduction of human cells and tissue. It does not refer to the natural conception and delivery of identical twins. The possibility of human cloning has raised controversies. These ethical concerns have prompted several nations to pass laws regarding human cloning and its legality.

Two commonly discussed types of theoretical human cloning are: therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning would involve cloning cells from a human for use in medicine and transplants, and is an active area of research, but is not in medical practice anywhere in the world, as of 2014. Two common methods of therapeutic cloning that are being researched are somatic-cell nuclear transfer and, more recently, pluripotent stem cell induction. Reproductive cloning would involve making an entire cloned human, instead of just specific cells or tissues.

In popular culture

Science fiction has used cloning, most commonly and specifically human cloning, due to the fact that it brings up controversial questions of identity. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), human cloning is a major plot device that not only drives the story but also makes the reader think critically about what identity means; this concept was re-examined fifty years later in C. J. Cherryh’s novels Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983) and Cyteen (1988). Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel Never Let Me Go centres on human clones and considers the ethics of the practice.

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. In the futuristic novel The House of the Scorpion, clones are used to grow organs for their wealthy "owners", and the main character was a complete clone.

The use of human cloning for military purposes has also been explored in several works. Star Wars portrays human cloning in Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, in the form of the Grand Army of the Republic, an army of cloned soldiers. The Expanded Universe also has numerous examples of cloning, including the Thrawn trilogy, The Hand of Thrawn duology, and Clone Wars-era media.

Orphan Black, a sci-fi/drama television series explores the ethical issues, and biological advantages/disadvantages of human cloning through a fictional scientific study on the behavioral adaptation of clones in society.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Human 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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