Cloning

I was discussing cloning elsewhere, specifically ethics and law, but one commenter mentioned an upcoming hip replacement and how he would love to be able to use a cloned hip instead of a manufactured one.

That got me thinking about his predicament, which led me to think about how spare structural body parts might not be viable. Muscles, ligaments, organs? Why not? Eyes, liver, kidneys, even stomachs and bowel, sure, but not bones.

Bones grow with you and are shaped by your environment over time, strengthened by impacts and weakened by diet, bent and twisted by circumstances, even lengthened and shortened as time goes on. It would be impossible (interesting word) to recreate that life while growing a clone structural part.

You couldn’t just clone “a hip” for example as it consists of the pelvis, pubic ramus, and the femur, all of which need to fit together correctly, with a bunch of ligaments and muscles around and, more interestingly, through the joint.

A cloned femur, only the top portion of which you could use, wouldn’t fit into the pelvis socket, which will have also been damaged over time. A new pelvis would need to be grown for a part of it to be cut off and used to replace the damaged portion. That join, and the one in the femur, would be bad weak spots until new bone had grown over them, a period of many years.

Then there are all the fibrous structures, muscles, and ligaments necessary to hold the joint together, lubricate it and supply nutrition to the synovial fluid.

Cloned synovial fluid would need to be reintroduced at the right pressure as well, not an easy task; this is not required for artificial joints.

It would be much easier and cheaper to replace the damaged parts with metal, polyethylene and ceramic. Our evolution into cyborgs continues apace.

It’s always interesting to chase these random ideas down!

3 thoughts on “Cloning

    1. That would only work for organs; bones would still have to be manufactured. No doubt, if the technology became viable, there would be a pool of obscenely rich people quite willing to pay for it. I do like to hope though that society wouldn’t allow it.

      The book was, for me, an interesting look at rights and morals.

      Liked by 1 person

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