1998 – Clonando humanos
PUBLICADO EN WIRED, Marzo 1998
Carbon Copy – Go Forth
Richard G. Seed on why cloning is God’s work, by Richard Kadrey
As most of the world now knows, Richard G. Seed, Harvard graduate, career physicist, and rogue scientist, aims to change the course of human evolution. He intends to clone us, and the government be damned. But pulling a complete human from his DNA top hat is only part of the trick Seed claims to be capable of. It’s the peripheral knowledge – the intellectual fallout from cloning – that really revs Seed’s engine: in his vision, human cloning isn’t just about making spare copies of yourself, it’s about providing rapid cures for a host of diseases, including cancer, and … well, maybe you’d better hear this for yourself. Wired caught up with the peripatetic Seed at his home in Chicago.
“First of all, I believe in God. Second, I’m a Christian. Third, I’m a Methodist, a very serious Methodist. The Bible says that God made Man in his own image. The Bible also says that Man will become one with God. To explain this, let me digress a little: During the first few hundred years of the Christian church, there were constant arguments and debates. One of the big arguments was about the resurrection of Christ. Was the resurrection in spirit or was the resurrection in body? This was a schism of major proportions. It was settled around the third century, and the resolution was that Christ was resurrected in both spirit and body. This is still the doctrine in Christian churches all over the world. The same interesting question is present now. When God intends to meet Man with himself, is that in spirit or in body? I choose the interpretation that it includes spirit and body both. Human cloning is one small step in that direction.
You can now seriously contemplate unlimited life extension and unlimited access to knowledge. The Scottish cloning experiments proved that you can reprogram the DNA in cells back to division zero – back to undifferentiated cells. If we can learn to reprogram DNA back from division 30 to division 15, that would be great. You’re going to be 20 years old again! And we could repeat that as many times as you’d want. It’s mind boggling.
But I’m really interested in more immediate applications. What if we took a cancerous cell of the same type used in Scotland – a mammary-gland epithelial cell. That’s the type most susceptible to breast cancer in humans. What if we took that differentiated, cancerous cell and, after making copies of it, tried maybe hundreds of different DNA manipulations of it? Isn’t it possible that we could turn that cell back to its earliest divisions? To the beginning of its life, before it became cancerous? With the technique they worked out in Scotland, you can set the cells back to division zero. If we succeeded in doing that, we’d have a cure for cancer right now. Maybe this won’t work, but you don’t even think about these concepts until you seriously start thinking about the science of human cloning.
And if you didn’t get all the cancer cells the first time, you could conceivably repeat the treatment indefinitely. I can’t see any side effects from this, certainly when compared with chemotherapy. If it worked, you could work on techniques for any cancer you could name – and, of course, AIDS.
It’s currently forbidden to use federal money to do human-embryo research; embryos are essential for this work. We’d like to fund it ourselves. But this type of experiment is so dramatic that the prohibition must be lifted for the kind of experiment I just described. It won’t do any good to do these experiments in monkeys. You have to do them in humans. The technological and information benefits from human cloning will be far more significant than the cloning of humans itself.
I’m not saying I have any instructions from God to do this, but I am saying that it’s the nature of Protestant thinking. People are dying every day, and they need sympathy. This is the pastor’s role. But in the Protestant era, when anyone could read the Bible and think about it, Christians were able to read and think for themselves, without anyone between them and their idea of God. When we attain an extended life span and access to unlimited knowledge, we will become God-like. And that is God’s intention. Some people think this idea is an excessive belief. My pastor is a little bit uncomfortable with my beliefs. He doesn’t endorse my position – maybe he does 5 or 10 percent.
With an extended life span, I’d engage in the same human activities I’ve always engaged in. I’m not unhappy with what I’ve done in my life. I might be able to take on experiments that take longer to conclude – something that I know I won’t be able to answer for 10, 20, or 30 years. I’ve tried retirement. Twice. Wow, boring.
Cloning is inevitable. If I don’t do it, someone else will. There’s no way you can stop science.”