Cloning the dead

Imagine walking along the street and bumping into a young couple whose child looks exactly like you thirty years ago:

Scientists are to be permitted to use tissue from dead people to create cloned human stem cells for research, under a legal change put forward by the government.

Health ministers have proposed that laboratories should be allowed to use stored human tissue to create cloned embryonic stem cells without the explicit consent of the tissue donor. This would allow research to be done on tissue donated for medical research as long as 30 years ago. Scientists would also be able to use cells from people who have died since they donated their tissue or who cannot be contacted.

Cloning the dead is creepy enough, but the idea that my stem cells from an old tissue sample might be grown and harvested without my knowledge or consent is the basis for a sci-fi story. Well, something like The Island.

But the bigger issue is the commoditization of humanity. Today, it’s tissue samples; tomorrow (as is already the case in China), we’ll start harvesting our prison population.

Then the elderly, then the disabled, then the slightly less intelligent…

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