This was posted March 98. I wonder what the status of the clinic is now? Any body know?
I found a website about Dr. Seed (great name for a person who wants to clone): http://www.humancloning.org/seed.htm
I still don’t know about the status of if his clinic in Japan. How can a physicist be an expert in infertility treatment and cloning?
I think we should clone Cecil first! Think of it…two omniscient ones!
Scientists Clone First Male Mammal
First cloned human embryo revealed
I still remember that episode of The Daily Show where they talked about this guy:
“Yes. That’s right folks. The guy who wants to clone people is named DICK SEED…”
Cloning is cool! The next two steps are:
- Learn to use the egg of a similar, but different species; i.e. you could clone a duck by putting its nucleus into a chicken ovum.
- Learn to recover the nucleus from dead cells (the DNA should be mostly intact if the tissue has been preseved well).
Then you can scour the world’s museums for tissue from extinct species and return them to the world! We could see a living dodo bird or passenger pigeon within our lifetimes…
A few things that need pointing out:
Failure of the telomeres to reset has been confirmed in Dolly’s chromosomes. What this means is that the repeating sequences of DNA which flank the chromosome are as short as they would be in a sheep that is Dolly’s age plus the age of the sheep she was cloned from. The telomeres normally shorten with every cell division, but reset to their longest length in offspring. When they get too short, the enzymes within the cell nucleus begin to chew on the ends of the chromosome (remember that nonbacterial chromosomes are linear, they’re “loose” at the ends), eventually causing cell death. This effect was predicted long before this method of cloning was ever actually preformed, so it’s no surprise.
Don’t bother reading the CNN article on the above, they get more wrong than they get right.
Cloning using the ovum of a similar species is possible with current technology.
DNA doesn’t keep very well in a natural environment. It gets chewed up and fragmented very quickly when proper and specific measures are not taken to preserve it. Usually these measures take the form of certain chemicals which inactivate the enzymes responsible for this degradation. I would imagine that flash freezing shortly after (or before) death would have the same effect, though.
A physicist can be an expert in anything. Having a physics degree does not preclude the possibility of possessing expertise in other areas.
There is such a thing as molecular biophysics, you know.
Dick Seed would be a kickass name for a rock band.
Is Seed actually a physicist, or did they mean to say “physician”?
The British museum probably has a stuffed dodo somewhere. Would the chemicals the taxonomist used to preserve it allow recovery of a usable nucleus? I’m familiar with molecular biology, but I don’t know much about the cloning or embalming processes.
Also, an interesting question is: primary clones seem to age prematurely, but would their offspring? If we can make two dodos, for example, M and F, can we -with sufficient care - recreate the species? The first, cloned generation may be have to be sacrificed to their telomere problems, but after that?
I hate to burst your bubble, george, but if people with the same genetic make-up knew the same things, then identical twins would know and have entirely the same experiences.
“[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged… that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more.” – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22
>>Is Seed actually a physicist, or did they mean to say “physician”?<<
It’s possible. Either way it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him working on this kind of thing.
>>The British museum probably has a stuffed dodo somewhere. Would the chemicals the taxonomist used to preserve it allow recovery of a usable nucleus? I’m familiar with molecular biology, but I don’t know much about the cloning or embalming processes.<<
Well, think of it this way. Unless you make an effort to knock out or denature only the protiens that go after the DNA (using EDTA or something equally specific), anything that keeps the destructive enzymes away is also likely to disintegrate the nuclear envelope and even attack the DNA itself.
Getting a usable nucleus is pretty much out of the question. The only hope would be to find enough fragmented DNA to sequence into an entire genome (or, more likely, small fragments of the genome). This is hard enough to do when you have living organisms to use. In a living organism you can basically cut out fragments, clone them, and then chop up the clones to feed into a sequencer. Then you piece together all the chopped up bits (using the overlaps) to figure out the sequence of that fragment, and then piece together all the fragments to form your complete genome. Presto, you now know how to make a fly (sort of).
Obviously, it gets a little more difficult when the organism has been dead for a while. To visualize the genome projects going on now, imagine randomly chopping ten thousand copies of War, What is it Good For? into chunks that are between five and five hundred words long. Now take all those pieces and reassemble them into a complete book. Pretty tough, but it can be done.
To visualize this with a long dead species, imagine taking ten thousand copies of the same work, but these copies were sent through a wood chipper and sunk to the bottom of a river, where they sat for a century. Chop those up in the same way, throw out 99% of the pieces, and now try to recover the work. This ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.
However… if you could recover the work using that method, it would at least be within the realm of possibility to reconstruct a reasonable facsimile of the original organism. First, you’d need the closest genetic match you can find to your extinct animal, using its genetic material as a starting point. It would simply be a matter of using transposable elements (jumping genes) to knock out the alleles that are different, and to add the correct ones. The difficulty of this operation would vary by gene. Some genes don’t really care where they are on the genome, so you can just let them fall almost anywhere. Other genes need to be in specific locations (or have an exact number of expressed sites), so you’d need to add the transposon to a few hundred embryos and clone the cells from the one that grows up with the “correct” expression. And of course there’s no guarrantee that the “correct” expression won’t be lethal to the organism that you used as your starting point.
Knocking out all the “wrong” genes that are present would be one hell of a chore. It would be a matter of getting your transposons to jump in such a way that they land on top or within the gene you’re aiming for. Once again, this is going to involve a lot of embryos and then cloning the ones that grow up with the correct expression.
Overall, what you would probably see is a few thousand different versions which will become progressively more and more like the organism you’re trying to recreate. Keep in mind that if you run into a problem in Version 3592.3a that’s caused by a gene that you thought you had inserted in an adequate location in Version 35.6b and you can’t work around the problem (ie. you can’t reposition the gene because versions 36 through 3591 were all engineered to work right with the gene from 35.6b in its “incorrect” location and won’t work right when you reposition it correctly), you’ll have to go back to the embryos from Version 34.0 and start over again.
Then again, someone might design a method for creating complete chromosomes from known sequences by the time we attempt this.
>>Also, an interesting question is: primary clones seem to age prematurely, but would their offspring? If we can make two dodos, for example, M and F, can we -with sufficient care - recreate the species? The first, cloned generation may be have to be sacrificed to their telomere problems, but after that? <<
Yessir. The telomeres in Dolly’s offspring are perfectly normal.
The Boston Globe had an article on the very topic of cloning extinct animals this morning; their focus was on the Tasmanian tiger. Some guy is trumpeting the idea, with the notion that it is possible if the soft tissue of the nucleus-donor was preserved in alcohol rather than formaldehyde. Unfortunately, several experts were interviewed and they pronounced the idea unworkable for the near future. Color me disappointed.