If you could be resurrected from the grave — re-born by science to become your own twin in a never-ending cycle of life — would you hope for that chance to live your life over again?  


The moment of living again is among us:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japanese scientists have cloned mice whose bodies were frozen for as long 16 years and said on Monday it may be possible to use the technique to resurrect mammoths and other extinct species.

Mouse cloning expert Teruhiko Wakayama and colleagues at the Center for Developmental Biology, at Japan’s RIKEN research institute in Yokohama, managed to clone the mice even though their cells had burst.

“Thus, nuclear transfer techniques could be used to ‘resurrect’ animals or maintain valuable genomic stocks from tissues frozen for prolonged periods without any cryopreservation,” they wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wakayama’s team used the classic nuclear transfer technique to make their mouse clones. This involves taking the nucleus out of an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus of an ordinary cell from the animal to be cloned.

If you don’t believe in resurrection — do you believe in the art of science replicating you as you were?

How would your life change if you were able to repeat it over and over and over again throughout the centuries?

Are we only owed one life?

Or are we allowed to recreate exact copies of ourselves to serve our greater, evolutionary, calling for immortality?

22 Comments

  1. Dananjay —
    I wonder, though, if you chose a second life — would you make the same decisions in the same circumstances? Would you have the same personality? Would there be a way to learn from the mistakes of your previous life?

  2. I’m not sure, David. It may be a second life, and technically a second “me” but it certainly won’t be the same person, because the environment and experiences would definitely be different. Or would it?

  3. That’s what I wonder, Dananjay. Are we able to fight the wants and preconditions of our DNA or do we truly have free will and we can change our lives moment to moment? I think there’s a certain amount of pre-wiring in us that doesn’t give us much opportunity for psychic change.

  4. I don’t know that putting the same soul in a different body would bring about the same results every time. The environment can do so much to us. Just the transition from the new york times before they had any photos to now with their full color photos might change the way that a person grows up and sees the world. 🙂

  5. Gordon —
    You’re right that the environment change affects us, but does the environment influence the decisions of the mind?
    If you are hard-coded to prefer numbers over images or sour over sweet or pain over comfort — how does environment change those pre-conditioned codes except to help you prefer your innate coding?
    Environment may lead us to choose one path over another, but I’m not sure if the hardwiring is able to be changed — or if the signals being sent down those wires have any real effect on behavior, judgment and decision-making.

  6. One life in this body is enough for me David!
    I would not mind coming back as a size ten blue eyed blond though – so long as I could keep the lessons of this life to provide some kind of balance.
    We are both devastated to hear of the loss of Michael Crichton – he was one of our favorite authors – budgie was particularly fond of his writing.

  7. I take your point, Nicola, but it seems science can heal the body better than it can heal the mind. So any imperfections in the body in situ would be able to be absorbed by the twinning process and, in effect, healed from the DNA chain. You can change your body type, eye color, height, and weight… but not the sewn-in associations of your mind.
    The loss of Crichton is devastating. He really set the agenda for science as entertainment. I am disappointed, though, that he kept his cancer a secret. He could’ve done a lot of good by telling people what was ailing them and letting us learn from his hard example.

  8. I think a lot of my body problems are tied up in my DNA – however not having known my birth parents I cannot swear to that. Or maybe I do not understand enough about DNA.
    It is shame that he kept his cancer secret – but I guess we have to respect his decision to do so. I am not sure I would want the world watching me die in such a manner.

  9. Have you thought about a service like 23andMe, Nicola?
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/11/19/23andme-and-the-ticking-timebomb-within/
    I know you commented on that article, but perhaps there’s more to the service now that there are wanted undefinables that affect you and your children? Would testing like that give you some insight into the genetics you have but cannot trace back to your parents?
    I understand the want to keep your sickness to yourself — but when you’re famous and when you require the goodwill and the readership of the people to keep you in business, I sort of feel you’re required to give them a chance to say goodbye to you since they are the ones that gave wealth to your life.

  10. That may be so, David.
    It was saddening to hear that we’ve lost Crichton. I’ve not read his books, but only seen them as powerful movie adaptations. A wonderful mind.

  11. Yes I did think about it – my view remains the same as when I commented. Price and confidentiality would still be issues for me.
    I can look at my daughters and see myself in them – they have a tendency at times to gain weight around their hips and thighs and ALL my children have my nose.
    The two girls also have my hair one of them loves it – the other spends a fortune on straightening out the curls.
    My son takes after his paternal grandfather – he has his height and slenderness – and takes after his fraternal grandmother in his blond hair coloring.
    They all have some degree of dyslexia which they got from their father and paternal grandfather.
    I wonder how long Crichton had been ill with cancer. Katherine’s future father in law was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of August and was dead in three months. My uncle had a similarly quick end with prostate cancer. Is there a right time to go public in those circumstances especially when you have a family to consider.

  12. Hi Nicola!
    I take your fine points. I love how you describe your family. So engaging. So much love!
    If you could take the test for free with promised privacy, would you do it? If you were taken ill with a mysterious illness that might be revealed in the DNA mapping — would you consider the notion then?
    Celebrity is a difficult line to tread. You cannot expect privacy for yourself, but you can demand it for your non-famous children and family members. When you choose to make a living in the public eye and in the wallets of your readers and fans — your life belongs to them, not you — and you owe them the same honesty and consideration that you provide your immediate family because that’s the meme that’s created with fame: You want the spotlight and the riches and the adoration and once you get it, you belong to those other than you.

  13. I do take your point about fame and being owned by your audience.
    How much did Crichton court publicity? I see him as a famous author, film and TV producer director and not as a celebrity as such. This could be because he has not courted the UK press as much as the USA press.
    I use the word famous as opposed to the the word celebrity because I think there is a difference.
    I would argue famous people are famous for their deeds and accomplishments. Celebrities are celebrities for their ability to court and manipulate the media so that we BUY into their celebrity.
    The first case – I think if they choose they are entitled to their privacy – in the second they have already sold their souls to us to achieve their celebrity status.

  14. Hi Nicola —
    I blogged about Crichton’s error today, here:
    http://blog.bolesuniversity.com/2008/11/michael-crichton-cheated-us-out-of.html
    “Michael Crichton” was a celebrity brand name. He lived off his talent and the power of his name that supported his art and his work. I do think he was famous and a celebrity just because you bought a “Michael Crichton” book and watched a “Michael Crichton” movie or television show. All authors that reach a certain memeingfulness in society also attain celebrity status just because that’s the necessary juice to run their career.

  15. I think I will encourage the idea of having kids – he/she might be a better/worse person than me…if they turn out to be a better version of mine – I will give up my cloning right and choose theirs!