As the Double Helix Turns

We are making it painstakingly clear replicating living beings isn't as hard as we imagined. It wasn't that long ago we marveled at the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, R.I.P.

Before lung disease cut that animal's life in half last year, scientists within various organizations had claimed to have produced the first human clone. Now, for the first time, researchers have obtained stem cells from a human clone, potentially eliminating any risk of later cell rejection.

Such progress is astonishing, almost easy looking from a layperson's vantage. Add to this the ability to derive certain personal characteristics through genetic manipulation, and you begin to see the potential for commerce.

Anyone who has ever been deprived of a child can attest to the need for a second chance. First-time parents have less ground for hereditary gerrymandering, but no one can deny the needs of those waiting for organ donations.

Is it starting to sound disturbing? I hope so, but it won't in a few short years. We have proven capable of monetizing virtually every significant scientific advancement, whether it required constructing an army of pollution creators or building weapons that have consumed millions of lives.

Where is the market for this newfound ability? How do we plan to benefit from being able to generate more humans? Should we expect a cloned underclass to do our worst bidding? No one is saying, really.

Perhaps we could grow a prime selection of people to help us learn how to live with one another? After we get past this whole natual-death dilemma, the next obvious hurdle is to resolve how not to whack each other.

Who better to study and thereby teach us how to proceed together into immortality than our best children? Perhaps someone figured this out before us. Maybe our genetic forefathers walk among us now. It is conceivable we're being tested right now... and failing.

How would we know the difference?