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Cloning

by Harold Hale


Pre-TL 8: Attempts at genetic manipulation and re-creating similar desirable traits in animal and plant breeds goes back to TL 1 in most cultures. On Terra, many varieties of domestic dogs were created in this way. While these attempts were not cloning, the desire in some races to be able to create exact copies of biological entities for various purposes much as machine entities can be replicated is very strong, and to varying degrees highly controversial.

Early examples of cloning involve the creation of embryos of a given species, which are then implanted in a biological host or egg where they completely develop. Advances in other areas of medical research, such as artifical wombs and so called "slow" drugs make it possible to create fully mature adults in much less time, though the resulting examples are developmentally challenged from a mental and behavioral perspective at best. Only significantly later after advances in education and psychological research does it become possible to create clones that act even remotely like their adult counter parts. Clones of sentient creatures created through rapid aging are dangerous abominations at best until TL 17, when mind transfer technology is developed. Mind transfer allows for the first "true clones" (a clone in all respects) to be created.

TL 8:Research into genetic structures goes into high gear thanks to advances in other areas of technology--this research makes cloning possible. Cloning of very primitives species with simple genetic structures becomes reality early in this tech level. As more sophisticated techniques are developed through the tech level, higher forms of life can be cloned. Initially these are species that have agricultural value, as much of the research conducted is funded from the agriculture community. For those that can afford it, beloved pets and rare species can also be cloned as well.

TL 9:Cloning of sentient creatures becomes possible early in this tech level. While behaviorally similar to their "mother", the resulting clones must be raised from infancy and usually result in an individual that is more akin to a younger brother or sister than a true duplicate of the original. The cost of such clones keeps the practice of cloning sentient creatures to the level of a curiosity. Also at this tech level, researchers are able to clone specific organs for transplantation into a host. Again cost is a factor, but by late in the tech level it becomes more common.

TL 10:Mass produced pets, essentially ultrasophisicated biological robots, appear. Initially these take on the form of common animals, but as the cost of cloning continues to decline and market expands, manufacturers looking for a marketing edge create whole new species that can be tailored to exhibit certain behaviors and traits (i.e. a canine like creature that can breathe underwater). Also at this tech level, species that have recently gone extinct can be "recreated", using genetic creation and mass cloning techniques. Initially limited to species where the vast majority of the genetic code is still available in some form, better extraction and extrapolation techniques mean less and less is required as tech level progresses.

TL 11:Mass produced biological robots, capable of performing menial tasks become possible. The care, feeding, and training time required limit the existence of these biomachines on many worlds, as does the ethical issues the more sophisicated models that resemble the race that created them raise. For those races that chose to continue to develop them however (particularly those that have a cultural preference for biological constructs over mechincal ones), biological robots go on to fill all of the traditional tasks performed by robots in most TL 12 (and higher) cultures. On the medical front, cloning of organs in place in the body becomes possible (so-called regrowth). Regrowth of organs has many implications with regard to life expectancy in many races.

TL 12:The increasing sophistication of mechanical robots (which require less upkeep and have much longer life expectancies) means that biological robots are largely surplanted on most worlds. Some cultures begin the cloning of soldiers and others in hazardous jobs such as firemen at this tech level, employing primitive fast growth and education/training techniques to create them. While sentient, for the most part these sentient biobots are no match for their "real" sentient counter parts in terms of their ability to deal with unusual events or tactics, or socially interact with others. Described as "souless", and raising extremely problamatic sentient rights issues, most all cultures eventually ban the creation of such species. Also at this tech level, it becomes possible to resurrect species that have been extinct for millions of years, based on scant genetic material, and then clone them. The cost of performing this technique means that such creatures are more curosity than anything else.

TL 13:"Dial an Organ" becomes possible, where a body part can be recreated merely by extracting the proper information from a cell from the patient.

TL 14:Increasingly sophisicated fast growth and education techniques make it possible to clone in quantity "supermen" that are a match for their "real" sentient counter parts. Most all cultures ban this practice, though it does take place on some worlds with typically negative results form a political and sociological perspective.

TL 15 and beyond:Clones become increasingly sophisicated and less expensive. Researchers are able to not only recreate sentient creatures, but at the same time eliminate serious genetic defects and biologically-induced behavior problems (such a genetic predisposition toward brain chemical imbalances that cause inappropriate violent behavior). By TL 17, mind transfer technology makes it possible not only to recreate you, but a superior you. Expensive at first, as technology continues to develop, the techniques become more reliable and less costly, and allow multiple copies to be made from the same original. When matched with advances in other medical technology fields, the only reason that immortality (in quantity) is not available to you is because you don't want it....


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