The laboratory formerly led by the scandalous Hwang Woo Suk intends to commercialize their one significant success, cloning a dog. In this case, they imagine profits in cloning service dogs, such as drug sniffers. The lab has signed a contract with the Korean customs service, even though the price of a cloned dog ($50,000 to $100,000) is much greater than the cost of a typical drug dog (approx. $5000 to $10,000).
In this case, the researchers may have government underwriting to thank for the otherwise unprofitable venture:
Although the lab, which is financed by the government, is focusing on cloning animals that provide services to humans, such as seeing-eye dogs or dogs who help law enforcement authorities, Kim said there is a possibility the team could look at cloning pets.
They might be more successful than the defunct Genetic Savings and Clone, which preyed upon pet lovers' heartstrings by offering to clone pets, often deceased, by way of irresistible images of kittens and puppies.
Proposals to use stem cells for baldness and breast enlargement, and gene transfer for erectile dysfunction, take advantage of even more visceral emotions, in these cases insecurity and sexuality.
Will technologies with enormous power to reshape both society and individuals be initially introduced for frivolous purposes? Will pet cloning and gene therapy for sexual confidence make human reproductive cloning and genetic modification technically feasible and more palatable?
Posted in Jesse Reynolds's Blog Posts, Medical Gene Transfer, Stem Cell Research
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Comment by Sean Henderson, Aug 24th, 2007 8:52pm
The title "biotechnology appeals to our lizard brains" could be better clarified IMO. Also, how do you differentiate the 'lizard brain' from the rest of the Darwinian attributional/motivational system?
"Lizards brains" is an attempt to frame the desire for improvements through biotechnology as stupid.
A higher and lower self ascribed through an abstract value system?
Comment by Sean Henderson, Aug 23rd, 2007 2:24pm
I agree that those should be low-priority interventions - especially with a new technology that carries risks like genetic manipulation. Eventually, I do think it should be acceptable to get gene therapy for baldness, breasts that lower that ability to find a mate (ah what a shallow society), or cure erectile dysfunction (no laughing matter.)
Yet, why do we spend resources on these lines of genetic research at this point? We already have means of treating those conditions. IMO, money could be much better spent elsewhere on more serious issues - especially government money.