To Our Readers


Sunday, August 19, 2001

Legal profession
anticipates needs of
cloning science

THIS is an exciting, ethically challenging time of scientific discovery. As our scientific knowledge expands, it's good to know that the legal profession is bustling to anticipate our needs.

Now that the buzz is about cloning human beings, it's somehow no surprise that human cloning has given birth to a new industry, an offshoot of sports and entertainment law: clone copyrights.

A clone is a copy. A cloned human would be the equivalent of an identical twin, with matching DNA -- but with a different birthday.

To clone a person, scientists would replace the nucleus of a human egg with a cell from the parent subject. Otherwise, the procedure would be similar to the now-commonplace in vitro sperm-and-egg method.

The resulting baby would not, however, be a unique individual resulting from the combination of genetic material from a father and mother. Instead, he or she would be a copy of the cell donor.

Enter the DNA Copyright Institute. "We anticipate that a number of celebrities such as musicians, models, actors and athletes will see the immediate and long-term benefit of establishing their DNA copyright to protect themselves," says its news release.

Perish the thought that somebody would get their hands on a strand of, say, Ed McMahon's hair or his fingernail clipping and create a competing, um, personality.

"Any celebrity will tell you that they have fans out there excited enough to try cloning if it were available, regardless of the cost," says the institute.

Imagine the future:

>> Michael Jordan II returns to North Carolina, while Michael III signs a letter of intent to play at Duke.

>> Tiger V wins the 2050 PGA Championship to extend the Woods domination of the event to 49 of the last 52 years.

>> Wayne Newton IV hosts the 22nd centennial special from Las Vegas.

>> Madonna VI weds Brad V.

The institute's chief legal counsel says it is the world's first and only personal DNA copyright service.

Oh, yeah? Well, send in the clones.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 529-4748, fax to 529-4750, send
e-mail to or write to
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.

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