Bhairavi Savur

How often do you wish that you were better at something? If you could just suddenly become a
better version of yourself, you would be capable of solving all of your problems and achieve
anything you want, life would be so much easier.

The Netflix original ‘Living with yourself’ is based on a similar concept. Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd)
undergoes a mysterious treatment that promises him the allure of a better life, but he then discovers
that he has been replaced by a cloned version of himself. So, the clone is not only his exact copy
but also is much better at everything.

In reality, cloning a human embryo is very much possible but no one has managed to make one
yet. Ever since the first successful cloned mammal- A sheep named Dolly was born in 1996, the
discussion turned to cloned humans. The governments of the world immediately banned human
cloning. Despite that, there were a few false claims of successfully cloned human embryos. A cult
called Raëlians who believe that humans are the clones of aliens claimed in 2002 that they had
cloned a human but there was no proof. Similarly, false claims of successfully cloned human
embryos were made by a group of Korean scientists in 2004. But in 2018, a Chinese group reported
births of the first Monkey clones. It was not an efficient process: About 80 cloned embryos led to six pregnancies and two live births. Even so, reproductive cloning had succeeded for the first time
in a primate. So there is solid proof that human embryos can be cloned.

Most scientific, governmental and religious organizations oppose reproductive cloning. Besides
being ethically questioned, cloning humans has no commercial motive. Cloning animals, on the
other hand, is rather normalized. Many organisations offer cloning services for pets like dogs, cats,
even livestock to some extent. In fact, the World’s champion polo team has used cloned ponies for
several years. Advocates of human therapeutic cloning believe the practice could provide
genetically identical cells for regenerative medicine, and tissues and organs for transplantation.
Such cells, tissues, and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of
immunosuppressive drugs. The value of using cloned human embryos to produce stem cell lines
from an adult has been cast into doubt by competition from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
These stem cells can, like embryonic cells, produce all the cell types of a living human from cells
carrying that individual’s own DNA. Thus, there was no profit involving cloning humans. And
once the potential use of CRISPR for DNA editing was discovered, it was possible to edit embryos
and make designer babies. Why settle for a mere genetic copy of a living person when one could
try to make a new and improved version?

In ‘Living with yourself’ Miles visits a “spa” where they manage to clone him within a couple of
hours as he is unconscious. In reality, if someone managed to lure you into such a scheme and
planned to clone you, it would take them at least a lifetime to replace you with your clone. The
result of cloning an adult human can only be an embryo as the DNA from a somatic cell of the
‘donor’(in this case- you) will be transferred to an oocyte, that has its own DNA containing nucleus
removed. The embryo will then be implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother who will give
birth to your clone. They would then have to wait for the baby to grow up which will obviously
take plenty of years. Moreover, the possibility of the clone being an exact copy of you is as good
as none. So if a Spa promises you a ‘better version of yourself’ it’s probably just a really good Spa.

Reference (Jul-20-E2)

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