Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Aiguille: Hi, identical twin Aiguille here. I hate to be all Artistic License - Biology riding a teal deer, but if human cloning is performed, the probability of a clone looking like the identical twin of its parent is much lower than people think. See, as it stands, cloning is essentially synthetic parthenogenesis, asexual reproduction. To oversimplify, cloning's like if I took an ovum from myself, shot it full of my DNA or, preferably, another of my ova reprogrammed to serve as a sperm, and got it to fertilize. A guy could do this if one of his sperm could be reprogrammed to serve as an egg, and we aren't that far off. In this respect, a clone is far more a child than a sibling.

Anyway, fertilization is a crazy process that doesn't work like mitosis, because gametes (eggs and sperm) have only half of our genetic code. In the course of it, when the DNA is combining, the clone could end up with a dramatically different phenotype. I know my hypothetical clone will have my recessive blue eyes, but she could have blonde hair instead of my brown, because I carry a recessive gene that is unexpressed. She could be shorter, have a smaller nose, and so on. Identical twins do have some differences in physical appearance, but the chances of differences with a clone are even greater, because of the way gamete cells and fertilization unravel and rebraid our DNA.

You find this in cloned cats, who's coats can vary drastically from ther parent's

arromdee: Umm, no. If you combined two ova, the result would be what you suggest, but that's not cloning. (It was basically what was done in Doctor Who in "the Doctor's Daughter".) If a single cell was used as the source for all DNA, the result could not be blonde—if you have a brown abd a blonde gene, so would the clone.

Aiguille: I'm a little confused. Even If we're only counting somatic cell nuclear transfer as practiced IRL as "cloning" there still potential for phenotypical variation, correct? Mitochondrial DNA of a given ovum as being distinct from the implanted nucleus could throw a wrench in the works, yes? And mutations of genes that were unexpressed could become expressed during cellular de- and re-differentiation, which explains Copycat the cat's varing phenotype, I'd thought.

Susan Davis: Ah, what a shame that we didn't name this Send in the Clones.

Looney Toons: That's why God made little green Entry Name Changers...

Tzinztuntzan: I did consider that name, but that doesn't say much about the clones in general...and I was going for a trope specifically about how crappy (and unscientifically so) fictional clones have it. But I'm not going to sue anybody if the name is changed, so feel free to go ahead.

Kendra Kirai: The part of me which knows far, far too many songs thinks "I Think Im A Clone Now" would be great.

Paul A: No, no. I Think Im A Clone Now is clearly a sub-type of Tomato in the Mirror.

Tabby: Not keen on any of the new suggestions, but I will say that the name of the trope makes it sound more like it's about the problems that the creators of clones have with them. Maybe just Clone Blues would be clearer?

This seems long enough to be splittable. I can think of a few possible subtropes: the rule that a clone of a main character will always die, stories where the writers don't treat clones as human, and stories where humans are improbably prejudiced against clones so the writer can make a point. —Document N

Hollow49: The newest Star Trek subentry is perhaps written in language that may be offensive to those on the Pro-Choice side of the abortion debate, as it describes the destruction of day-old (at most) foetuses grown from cloned tissue as murder (italics from the original entry). (The analogy is especially close as the "parents" of the clones did not give consent and are the ones doing the destuction, making it analogous to a rape victim voluntarily choosing an abortion.) Are there any guidelines as to how to avoid the messy arguments when making entries in this kind of sensative topic?

arromdee: In that story, were the clones day-old fetuses, or were they fast-grown day-old infants/adults that were a poorly-written metaphor for fetuses?

If they really were day-old fetuses, just take it out. If they were a badly written metaphor, leave it in and explain the problems with what was literally shown (the clones were used as an abortion metaphor, but clones have fully developed brains and fetuses don't).

Eran of Arcadia: Indeed, we don't need that debate here. However, I did change the wording from "beginning at birth" to "beginning at conception" on the grounds that it is accurate; what you end up with is a zygote, not a newborn (any more than a fully-grown adult).

thatother1dude: what in the holy hell is that episode of TNG were they kill all of the clones called?

Zuya: I'm posting here first, because I can't remember the details exactly. There was a Brazilian novella called "O Clone", "the clone", which involved a character being cloned after his twin brother was killed in an accident. What made this interesting: 1- The clone was made in a scientifically appropriate way, having to be grown in utero, and aging at normal speed; 2- No one except the scientist knew that he was cloned; 3- When everyone found out about it, the clonee was the one who suffered clone blues, because he was afraid his love interest would be more interested in the younger version of himself. Actually, he was very put off in every way by his clone and feared that he would take over his life. I don't remember the clone's side of the story, though. Also, it fell into the pitfall of mysterious clone memories in the form of dreams.

Mark Lungo: The Hawkwind quote is Made of Win. Great song, too!


Haven: Whenever I see this name come up, I keep on hearing the Cowboy Bebop end theme. "Tha real CLOO-NING BLUES, honntou no!"
arromdee: Deleted the Chase example. The duplicae Doctor was a robot.
Nentuaby: I can't believe the page got THAT many examples before categorization.

TTD: Wait... there is a bird that reproduces asexually? Can anyone elaborate?

(I know about the Western Whiptail lizards, who are all female and reproduce asexually, but I've never heard of a bird like this.)
Anonymous: Could someone please explain the criteria for straight, parody, subversion and exception for this trope? 'Cause the way I understood it both sections have examples of all four in a nearly equal mix.

Crowley: Huh, I was looking at the article, and thinking the exact same thing. I honestly can't tell the difference between the two categories.

bjt71988: Should we just eliminate the "parodies, subversions, and exceptions" section and lump those examples with the "straight" ones? I don't know if someone is willing to check whether each example is straight/subverted/parodied/averted/other.