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Old 01-24-2003, 12:24 PM   #1
Undertoad
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1/24/2003: Cloned cat not copied



Normally I avoid stories that have been so completely linked-to by other sites. But I noticed that, in this story, the photos tell you more than the text possibly could - and every version of the story used the same AP photo, and they all reduced it to postage-stamp size.

So you couldn't really get the gist of it: the cat on the right is a clone of the cat on the left, and the whole point is that they are NOT identical.

Above is the largest version of the wire service image that I could find, and it shows you some of the differences, but don't you wish they had some shots that were better for comparison?

The cat on the left is named "Rainbow", and I was able to find this face-on shot of her. These colors are more accurate:



It brings to mind another question: why are the colors in this shot so different from the first image? Because color photography is not an exact science either, and the wire service photo, the first shot, has highly inaccurate colors. And those inaccurate colors are reproduced in just about every web version of the story.

The cat on the right is named "cc", and one site had this image (mislabeled as Rainbow by the "news" organization):



The above shot was probably part of the same package as the first, based on its clarity and color. (Oh yeah, and it's sitting on the same table with the same background.)

The story notes that the cats are very different. Besides their color differences, Rainbow is reserved; cc is curious and playful. Rainbow is chunky; cc is sleek.

The clone does have the same DNA as the original, but my understanding of genetics is weak and I dare not reproduce any errors in explanation that were already introduced to the world by shoddy reporting and photography.

This was the first time a household pet was cloned -- that we know of.

In the bigger picture, what does this say about cloning and how we feel about cloning? Making a match of "you" is impossible. The different conditions that have existed for your entire life cannot be matched. The experiences that make you what you are, and even what you look like, are all your own. Your brain is more powerful than your DNA. The raw materials that make up a human being do not describe what a person is.

Cool.
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Old 01-24-2003, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: 1/24/2003: Cloned cat not copied

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
In the bigger picture, what does this say about cloning and how we feel about cloning? Making a match of "you" is impossible. The different conditions that have existed for your entire life cannot be matched. The experiences that make you what you are, and even what you look like, are all your own. Your brain is more powerful than your DNA. The raw materials that make up a human being do not describe what a person is.

Cool.
Right on the money. Any clone of a person has to be considered a full and separate human being by our legal structure. We cannot own our clones. The Pope will also have to get on board eventually and admitt that its just another form of reproduction (he he) and clones have souls.
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Old 01-24-2003, 01:40 PM   #3
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I think I bitched and moaned about this before, but on CNN's "Talk Back Live" the talkdroid took a question about whether or not the clone would have a soul.

Say it with me: "It's a just a twin". Somebody gimme a hay-men.

I had to put down my Sofie 2 years ago, and I thought it might be neat to have a clone of her. Then I saw the pricetag. Then I thought I'd just get a Corvette and another border Collie, and we'd take a month off and tear around the west coast. Would cost about the same.

P.S. Oh yeah, I'm not keen on exhuming her, either. :p
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Old 01-24-2003, 01:42 PM   #4
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Wow! Dog souls must be pricey.
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Old 01-24-2003, 02:11 PM   #5
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No, Yuo! :p :p :p

Worse part of the story is when we dug the hole for Sofie. My dad had buried the cat on the hill 'somewhere' in a plastic bag. So my uncle and I are digging the hole, and I hit something. I bring the pick up, and there's a plastic bag with something in it stuck to the pick. Sofie and Cat were buried together, consequently...
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Old 01-24-2003, 02:36 PM   #6
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KITTIES! AWWWW!

I'm surprised (and not so surprised) that this wasn't apparent to the populace at large; clones are not "photocopies". Just as you can get different fractal patterns from tweaks to the same algorhythm, you will also get different creatures from tweaks to the same DNA patterns. Silly hu-mans.
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Old 01-25-2003, 06:26 AM   #7
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I'm against any reproduction that leaves out the fun part.
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Old 01-25-2003, 11:11 AM   #8
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This brings up the interesting point of Nature vs. Nurture.

Just how much of "us" is made up by our genetic structure as opposed to the environment we were raised in and the circumstances of our lives?

These cats share identical DNA structure, yes. But unless you can emulate *every* circumstance of the clone's life right down to what the mother ate and the hours she slept as well as her age and health(which goes far in determining hair colour believe it or not) when she had the first cat, then you're not going to have an exact clone.

When most people think of a clone, they think of an exact duplicate. The fact is, this is only the case at the DNA level. The circumstances in your life and the environment you are raised in go a long way in determining a lot about you. Even the way you look.

btw, I remember hearing somewhere that they did not use the same mother to bear the clone. Can anyone confirm this? If this is the case, then it is no wonder they don't look identical.

Last edited by Obsidious; 01-25-2003 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 01-25-2003, 05:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Obsidious
These cats share identical DNA structure, yes. But unless you can emulate *every* circumstance of the clone's life right down to what the mother ate and the hours she slept as well as her age and health(which goes far in determining hair colour believe it or not) when she had the first cat, then you're not going to have an exact clone.
Experiments on Dolly, the first clone, demonstrated that identical twins are more similar than clones. However still we have the neo-classicals that somehow still view cloning as if it were just Hitler revisited. Classic example of people with opinions before they even bother to learn basic facts.

The TV show was called 'Threes Company'. But those who promote fear got their dates wrong. Two weeks before the show had even aired, the religious right letter writing campaign had already beseiged ABC appauled at what they had watched on TV. Threes Company was clearly going to preach immorality. Why? They did not have to first learn facts - watch the show. Their religious leaders had already told them what was and was not moral.

And so we also have nonsense responses about clones, genetically modified crops, and stem cell research. People with opinions who cannot even bother to first learn fundamental facts.
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Old 01-25-2003, 05:40 PM   #10
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Reminds me of something my father once told me

"If you've seen one pussy, you've seen 'em all."
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Old 01-25-2003, 05:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
I'm against any reproduction that leaves out the fun part.
This is another one to add to the Cellar's best. It took me a second to get it, but damn, this is funny.

Sure, all pussies are basically the same, but they come in different colors.
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Old 01-26-2003, 01:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Obsidious
btw, I remember hearing somewhere that they did not use the same mother to bear the clone. Can anyone confirm this? If this is the case, then it is no wonder they don't look identical.
Doesn't matter. In the process of cloning, neither the egg donor nor the implantee donate any genetic material to the end-product. The Momcat could have been another american shorthair, or a persian. Doesn't matter. The egg is denucleized and the cloned cells are implanted in that egg.
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by wolf
. . . Doesn't matter. In the process of cloning, neither the egg donor nor the implantee donate any genetic material to the end-product. . .
Aaah, but Obsidious' point is that it does matter, as the outcome is determined by more than the genetic input. Maternal health and nutrition, and other conditions of gestation may have more of an impact on physical development of the fetus than we give credit for. Although the clone may be a "genetic duplicate," the actual outcome varies more than we thought possible. That's probably why identical twins (genetic copies gestated in nearly identical conditions) will be more alike than clones reared at different times, in different gestational "mothers."

Don't know if this is true, or to what extent, but I think this is what Obsidious was trying to say.
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Old 01-26-2003, 11:37 AM   #14
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Think of how cells reproduce. A cell that is to be part of an arm generates another cell, with same DNA, that becomes another arm part. This process continues until suddenly a hand forms. Why. If cell A produces cell B to only be another part of the arm AND if both cells have the exact same DNA, then why does cell W down the arm suddenly build a hand? Why would cell W also not build another 'arm' cell?

Welcome to wider concepts of genetics. The blueprint is there, but other factors contribute to why, suddenly, the next cell is a cuticle or finger nail. Less significant is how the fetus receives nutrition, maternal nurturing, etc. There must be communication between cells as they multiply and undertake new functions. DNA alone does not explain that communication.

Last edited by tw; 01-26-2003 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 01-26-2003, 03:46 PM   #15
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It comes down to the introduction of nutrients and chemicals at certain times and at certain levels... kind of a crap shoot. Its amazing so many people do come out looking relatively the same... but, that just means somewhere in there its encoded and we don't have a full grasp of how.

Did I remember correctly that the DNA is placed into a host nucleus? This leaves some DNA from the old cell present, the mitochondria. Perhaps this plays a big role in development?
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