GENTECH archive


Re: cloning the dead

Thanks for your reply Gregor.
This issue is raising some deeply disturbing  questions for me. Not on the
morality of cloning, but questions like "what is life", "what is not-life"?
Where does life "come from"?
I am not a biologist, and I may have some facts wrong, The following is my
understanding, I would be grateful for correction if necessary:

In the case of the white elephant below, pickled in alcohol for 100 years,
there is no way the material could be considered "alive". Or presumably in a
long dead mammoth
For cloning, I believe the nucleus of an egg, ie the DNA, is removed. Now
can that egg, without any DNA, without the ability to reproduce itself,
produce any biochemical material, be considered "alive? What "evidence" of
life does it manifest? If it is alive, what would it mean if it were to die?
If it is alive, it is completely anonymous life. isn't it?

So in cloning, the dead DNA is inserted in the modified, alive/dead egg.
Can anyone tell me what is the "clock" that starts the process of cell
division going? I would take this division process as evidence of the
presence of "life", whatever that is. Do Biologists actually know what life

I realise these questions are not the usual ones put in GE discussions, and
my apologies if anyone thinks I'm wasting list space. But these are deeply
fascinating questions to me, and I would welcome anyone's input into the


On Friday 8th January Gregor Wolbring replied:

>Yes you could use material from dead donors for cloning. You just have to
>store the material in an appropriate way till use. So per se the cloning
>of dead is possible I am not so sure how well the storage protokoll has
>advanced for the purpose of cloning but I am sure that it already should
>be possible. You just need an egg and a nucleus and you can get that in

>> >
>> > On Thu, 7 Jan 1999, Clive Elwell wrote:
>> >
>> >>
>> >> I enclose this article to ask a fundamental queation of you scientists
>> and
>> >> doctors out there.
>> >> Is it really possible to clone from a dead animal? To "create" life
>> >> what is dead?
>> >> Is there any evidence that this can be done?
>> >> Clive
>> >>
>> >> >================
>> >> >BBC News | Asia-Pacific |
>> >> >1) Thais to clone elephants
>> >> >Saturday, January 2, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT
>> >> >
>> >> >All white elephants property of Royal family
>> >> >Scientists in Thailand have begun a project to clone
>> >> >an elephant from the preserved remains of a prize
>> >> >specimen that died more than a 100 years ago.
>> >> >The Bangkok Post newspaper says a team from the
>> >> >city's Mahidol University wants to use genetic
>> >> >material from a white elephant owned by the 19th
>> >> >century monarch King Rama III.
>> >> >
>> >> >Body parts from the elephant, said
>> >> >to have been of an extremely rare
>> >> >variety, have been preserved in
>> >> >alcohol for more than a century.
>> >> >Elephants are the country's
>> >> >national symbol. White ones have
>> >> >lighter colored skin around their
>> >> >ears, eyes, trunks, and sometimes
>> >> >other parts of their bodies.
>> >> >
>> >> >Prized for their rarity and
>> >> >the belief they bring good
>> >> >luck, all white elephants in
>> >> >Thailand are automatically
>> >> >the property of the Royal
>> >> >family.
>> >> >The scientists have
>> >> >already succeeded in
>> >> >cloning a cow. They
>> >> >[\who've already
>> >> >succeeded in cloning a
>> >> >cow\] say they have been
>> >> >inspired by American
>> >> >efforts to clone a mammoth.
>> >> >The 10-year project will replenish Thailand's wild
>> >> >elephant population. It has dwindled from around
>> >> >50,000 in the 1960s to just 2,000 in the wild today.
>> >> >Between 3,000 and 5,000 are domesticated animals
>> >> >The main problem has been the shrinking area of
>> >> >the animals' natural habitat, which is now too small
>> >> >to support them in large numbers. Even in the
>> >> >country's main national park the herds are
>> >> >scattered and cross-breeding is virtually
>> >> >impossible.
>> >> >The long-tusked bull elephants have also been
>> >> >targeted by poachers. Other elephants are force
>> >> >fed amphetamines and put to work in the illegal
>> >> >logging industry, then left to die when their bodies
>> >> >give out from overwork and drugs.
>> >> >Increasingly, elephant handlers and their beasts
>> >> >are turning up on the streets of Bangkok, where
>> >> >they make a living begging from tourists while
>> >> >constituting an additional hazard to drivers plying
>> >> >the already crowded streets of the capital.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>