Frankenstein's Clones?Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, written by the British novelist in 1818, is a science fiction novel about Victor Frankenstein, who was killed by a monster that he created.
After being shocked by his mother's death, Mr. Frankenstein determined to create a human of his own, and threw himself into research. He assembled a monster from body parts taken from corpses and sent electric currents into various body parts, succeeding in animating the lifeless matter.
But what he created was a monster in human form. Although Mr. Frankenstein deeply regretted his deed and tried to destroy the monster, he was killed by the creature instead.
During the 19th century, belief in science took on biblical fervor in England, where the industrial revolution bloomed. To create a human, Mr. Frankenstein used the newest theories of his time in chemistry and biology.
The theory of Italian chemist Luigi Galvani on the effect of electricity on muscular motion played a decisive role in particular. Mr. Galvani argued that electricity generated from a brain is transferred to muscles through the nervous system, causing a motion. Mary Shelley hoped to check the arrogance and madness of persons who believed that scientific power would take the place of the Creator, but it seems that there is no end to the arrogance of humans.
Clonaid, a bioengineering company supported by the Canadian religious group, the Raelians, reportedly starts a human cloning project next month, volunteering to be the Frankenstein of the 21th century. The company gave as justification its desire to aid a couple's earnest desire to revive their baby, who died 10 months after birth. A nucleus extracted from a body cell of the dead baby was reportedly inserted into an ovum, making a fertilized egg. The company plans to implant the fertilized egg on the uterine wall of a surrogate mother. The same procedure was used to create the first cloned sheep, Dolly. The company said it is a procedure that someone would eventually do. They announced that the project would be completed this year, and it can be expected to cause an ethical turmoil.
Experts warn that among animal clones, 95 percent died as embryos and many of those born either died immediately after birth or suffered from serious deformities. Ms. Shelly gave the sub-title "The Modern Prometheus" to her novel, Frankenstein. In Greek mythology, Prometheus created a man out of clay, bring him to life. Then Zeus ordered him to make a woman, Pandora, who later opened a box triggering the start of all human misfortunes. I seriously worry that the outcome of the human cloning project may be Frankenstein's monster coming out of Pandora's box.
by Bae Myung-bok