Take cloning to the farthest, eeriest, most ambitious and strange reaches of your imagination, and what do you get? A Leave-it-to-Beaver family of Mom, her clone, Dad, and his clone? Or something a little more peculiar: American Gothic, with generations of enigmatic, dour-faced clones holding their raised pitchforks in a field of wheat?
The real revolution in the world of cloning, however, is not about clones. It's about what made cloning possible in the first place. Something called nuclear transfer. It's about the whole brave new universe of genetic engineering, and cloning is just the cute little pug nose-tip of the iceberg.
A clone is essentially a delayed identical twin. But with the same technology—adding genetic enhancements to a cell and growing it into an embryo—you might engineer your unborn child to be resistant to AIDS, heart disease, or cancer. Or like select breeds of tomatoes, to grow small and plump, or large and glossy. And, as we continue to unravel the secrets of the human genome, limitless possibilities will fan open before us. The problem, according to Lee Silver, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and author of Remaking Eden (Avon): "This engineering will be used only be people who can afford it... it could produce two different species. Every scientist I've talked to believes this will happen."