Created By: zarpaulus on August 28, 2012 Last Edited By: zarpaulus on August 8, 2013
Troped

Cloning Body Parts

Cloning replacement body parts, and just the parts.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
So, you're missing some limb or organ and are worried about tissue rejection. Don't worry, the doctor can just grow you a new one in this vat here. Oh, and there's no ethical issues to worry about, it's not like this cloned part has a brain, it's just an arm or leg or liver.

Depending on the setting this may be more or less expensive than Artificial Limbs, but it is almost always more culturally acceptable.

Some scientists are working on this in Real Life due to the scarcity of transplantable organs and the problem of immune reactions to transplants. Chimeric organs that could be suitable for transplant have been grown in pigs and sheep while bladders and tracheas have been produced in labs.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Cowboy Bebop Jet is occasionally asked why he got a prosthetic arm instead of a cloned arm.
  • This is possible in the Ghost in the Shell universe (although natural organ transplants are still used and some people opt for cybernetic organs). A company in the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex grows cloned organs in genetically engineered pigs for its clients as a combined insurance policy (since you can have the organs implanted in you if there's an accident) and investment (since you can opt to sell your unused cloned organs).

Comic Books
  • Taken to a bizarre extreme in Transmetropolitan, where human body part cloning is so commonplace that a fast food chain called "Long Pig" serves it, and you can even grow your own vice presidential candidate.

Film
  • In The Island customers are told that their "health plans" are brainless vegetables, however for the sake of the story they lied.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera: GeneCo makes artificial organs after an epidemic of organ failures, then has assassins repossess them when the patients miss too many payments.
  • In The 6th Day, the benefits of organ cloning is used as a plea to try to drive down the "Sixth Day Laws", that forbid the cloning of complete human beings. In reality, the owner of the cloning corporation only wants to achieve immortality via uploading your memories into the brains of Expendable Clones.

Literature
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's stories about the Howard Families in the far future there are several mentions of cloned parts being grown.
  • This is fairly common in Vorkosigan Saga. Miles gets a whole new set of internal organs after his chest is blown out by a needle grenade, and Aral has to take some time off, waiting for them them to grow him a new heart, after his heart attack. In emergencies, the parts that get installed are often undersized and need to grow in situ, but with advance warning, full sized parts can be grown.
  • Hyperion Cantos mentions it, apparently it is too expensive for most people though.
  • In the Dune prequels the early Tleilaxu were known as suppliers of transplantable organs that they grew on trees. However, while they did do that it didn't provide enough organs to meet demand during the Butlerian Jihad so most of their products were a side of their slaving business.
  • Mentioned to be possible but illegal in the Star Wars Expanded Universe story "Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM". Zuckuss needs a new set of lungs, but because therapeutic cloning is illegal they need a lot of money to get it done on the black market. After they pull a Heel–Face Turn and help out the Rebels, the Rebels reveal they've worked out a way to trigger the regrowth of the damaged tissues that doesn't require cloning.
  • In Oryx and Crake "pigoons" are chimeric pigs with human organs, several human organs in fact, based on one possible method of producing artificial organs.

Live-Action TV
  • Star Trek: Voyager mentions that replicators are capable of this in some cases. In an early episode the EMH resurrects an alien brain cancer victim by removing the tumor from her brain stem, replicating replacement tissue, then following the standard post-mortem resuscitation procedure for her class of life-forms.

Tabletop Games
  • Shadowrun
    • It is possible for characters to receive replacement body parts or bioware that are specifically clone-grown for them.
    • There are also mass-produced "Type O" transplants produced from the cells of one Owen Whiting who lacks the proteins that trigger immune reactions.
  • Traveller
    • Regrown limbs and basic prosthetics cost the same and have practically the same statistics, the difference is thematic.
    • Megatraveller Journal #3, "Worldguide: Vincennes". On the Tech Level 16 world of Vincennes, cloning of injured and damaged organs and limbs is commonplace.
  • In GURPS: Transhuman Space cybernetics are considered obsolete, nearly everyone waits a couple weeks for a cloned body part instead of just printing off a prosthesis.

Webcomics
  • In Schlock Mercenary prosthetics are generally temporary and only issued when cloning tanks are unavailable or the HMO doesn't cover them.
  • In S.S.D.D it is possible to clone biological body parts, but most CORE troops prefer to upgrade with cybernetics.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger: Matter Replicators can be used to make replacement organs, at least one company gave employees full scans as part of their medical benefits. And one character used that data to create a full clone of his dead wife.
  • In My Life At War one of the "Gunrat Girls" was sent back to Treadhaven to get a new arm from "the tanks" for two more years on her contract.

Western Animation
  • Sometimes comes up in Futurama like when Fry went to "Handcrafters" after a T. rex feeding accident or more recently when Fry and Leela each had an arm ripped off and the Professor grew them new ones.
  • In "The Engineer's Thumb" of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century Moriarty's organ-legging turns out to be using cloned parts. Which are illegal due to Clone Degeneration.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television or at least it's becoming so. Regenerative medicine is a real science being researched by Biotech companies and the pentagon that can grow replacement organs using a person's cells. They've created beating hearts, ears and bladders, and are working on creating kidneys, livers, lungs and more. This video demonstrates that they have medicine and materials that can trigger processes in the body to regrow severed fingers, and damaged skin.
  • An alternative might be to grow human organs in animals such as pigs by injecting human stem cells into animal embryos.
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • August 28, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Back in 1997 the Weekly World News ran a cover story on a clone without a head grown specifically for replacement parts. Because it had no head it wasn't a "real" person, so there would be no ethical problems.
  • August 29, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • In Robert Heinlein's stories about the Howard Families in the far future there are several mentions of cloned parts being grown.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Shadowrun. It is possible for characters to receive replacement body parts or bioware that are specifically clone-grown for them.
  • August 29, 2012
    surgoshan
    ^ Heinlein's future stories actually go further. People have replacement clones grown (deliberately anenecephelitic) as an insurance policy.
  • September 2, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Bump
  • September 2, 2012
    KTera
    • In Dead Space, the Ishimura's medical bay has tanks containing cloned fetuses; they're being grown as sources for transplant organs. Naturally, the fetuses eventually come after you as Necromorphs.
      • And since Ellie has her eye back in trailers for the third game, this is probably practiced elsewhere in the setting.
  • September 3, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ I think that's a slightly different trope (although one we should have if we don't). This trope is how you avoid that trope. Also, you really need to read Example Indentation, because that's not how you do it!

    Literature
    • This is fairly common in Vorkosigan Saga. Miles gets a whole new set of internal organs after his chest is blown out by a needle grenade, and Aral has to take some time off, waiting for them them to grow him a new heart, after his heart attack. In emergencies, the parts that get installed are often undersized and need to grow in situ, but with advance warning, full sized parts can be grown.
  • September 3, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ To be specific it's body part cloning while averting "Walking Transplant", many people don't consider fetuses to be "people" so maybe, maybe not.
  • September 3, 2012
    Omeganian
    Hyperion mentions it. Apparently, it is far from affordable to most people.
  • September 12, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Traveller
      • Megatraveller Journal #3, "Worldguide: Vincennes". On the Tech Level 16 world of Vincennes, cloning of injured and damaged organs and limbs is commonplace.
  • September 23, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^^^ Congratulations. Now you made it hinging on the stage of stumped development acceptable for keyboard accessories. Yay for incoming Walking Fetuses fighting for their rights. Nicely done. :]
  • September 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ Look, we've managed to make pluripotent stem cells from other sources
  • May 10, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Okay, any chance of reviving this one?
  • May 10, 2013
    Xanderiskander
    if we're reviving this I have this to add.

    Real Life
    • Truth In Television or at least it's becoming so. Regenerative medicine is a real science being researched by Biotech companies and the pentagon that can grow replacement organs using a person's cells. They've created beating hearts, ears and bladders, and are working on creating kidneys, livers, lungs and more. This video demonstrates that they have medicine and materials that can trigger processes in the body to regrow severed fingers, and damaged skin.
  • May 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:

    TV:
    • Star Trek Voyager mentions that replicators are capable of this in some cases. In an early episode the EMH resurrects an alien brain cancer victim by removing the tumor from her brain stem, replicating replacement tissue, then following the standard post-mortem resuscitation procedure for her class of life-forms.

    Video Games:
    • Played with in Mass Effect 3: Citadel (Warning: MAJOR PLOT POINT). So they'd have a complete set of replacement organs for Shepard in case something went wrong during Project Lazarus, Cerberus cloned him/her entirely. The clone was kept sedated, but around the same time the Normandy SR-2 hit the Collector base in Mass Effect 2 the clone was revived by and escaped with a disgruntled Cerberus employee, and is the expansion's Arc Villain.
  • May 11, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ I can't really remember, was Shepard's clone originally brainless?
  • May 11, 2013
    StarSword
    ^No, they cloned the whole thing, intending to cannibalize her as needed (which ended up not happening). She didn't have any of Shep's memories, though.

    Although I didn't actually know about the Walking Transplant trope when I posted that. Probably belongs over there if it isn't already. EDIT: Wow, it wasn't.
  • May 13, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Bump
  • May 14, 2013
    Bisected8
    • This is possible in the Ghost In The Shell universe (although natural organ transplants are still used and some people opt for cybernetic organs). A company in the first season of Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex stores cloned organs in genetically engineered pigs for its clients as a combined insurgence policy (since you can have the organs implanted in you if there's an accident) and investment (since you can opt to sell your unused cloned organs).
  • May 14, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Oh yes, that also reminds me of Oryx And Crake's "pigoons"
  • May 16, 2013
    Bisected8
    I made a typo in that example; that should be "insurance policy", not "insurgence policy". Sorry.
  • May 16, 2013
    SharleeD
    Looks like there are enough examples of human-analog organs being grown in livestock for that alternative to rate a mention in the description, here.
  • May 16, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^I mentioned it under real life.
  • May 17, 2013
    SharleeD
    ^ Yes, but the description should also mention that variant, so people won't have to read the whole page to know that animal-grown organs belong here too. Right now the description makes it look like it's for vat-grown organs only.
  • May 17, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Well, I added something to the description.
  • May 20, 2013
    zarpaulus
  • May 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Would this count?

    • Towards the end of the Sith Inquisitor storyline in Star Wars The Old Republic, the Inquisitor's body starts dying quickly (not that it affects the gameplay) as a result of acquiring too much power from absorbing Force Ghosts too quickly, so you have to find a device that basically replaces your entire body with a genetic duplicate, transferring your consciousness to it.
  • May 20, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ I don't think so.
  • May 21, 2013
    Koveras
    Where does it fall into, then?
  • May 21, 2013
    xanderiskander
    @Koveras: I think that would fall under Body Backup Drive
  • May 21, 2013
    Koveras
    It has no laconic, so I am not sure about the exact definition, but it seems that Body Backup Drive is about having a clone ready beforehand and transferring the consciousness to it when you die. In my example, the original body was not dead yet, but damaged, so it was cloned on demand and immediately discarded after transferring conscience. In my view, it is not at all different from cloning a damaged or missing limp and attaching it to the old body, discarding the old limb--which is what this trope is defined like right now. It's just that the "old body" in the Inquisitor's case was reduced to just his consciousness/soul, but that's normal for the Star Wars universe.
  • May 21, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Well, it was an entire body, presumably with a brain that the Inquisitor possessed. The Emperor's clones were on the Body Surf page long before Body Backup Drive appeared.
  • May 22, 2013
    Koveras
    So basically, this YKTTW is specifically about limb/organ cloning rather than on-demand whole-body replacements? Then the title should reflect it, too, not just the laconic. Therapeutic Organ Cloning, Therapeutic Limb Cloning?

    Though I still have no idea why whole-body replacements are excluded from definition. The only difference to organ cloning is the scope. Or do you think it will attract misuse?
  • May 23, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ I believe it would attract misuse.
  • May 23, 2013
    xanderiskander
    We could name this trope after regenerative medicine in the real life examples. Mostly because when people hear the word "clone" a lot of the time they think of a whole body.
  • May 23, 2013
    Koveras
    @zarpaulus: Such as? Forgive me my obstinacy, I just still don't understand your objections.
  • May 24, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^The point of the trope was to show that not every case of cloned body parts was a Walking Transplant with all the associated ethical issues. Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't the Inquisitor's clone body have needed to have a full brain to transfer his consciousness to, so the clone could potentially have been an entirely separate person?
  • May 25, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ While the Mother Machine (the cloning device) was capable of creating a clone independent of the original Inquisitor, the programming for that particular cloning was such that the new body did not have a conscience despite having a functional brain. Conscience is something that is granted by the Force in the Star Wars universe, so having a brain does not equal being self-aware there.
  • June 10, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Maybe it was Twinmaker
  • June 11, 2013
    Koveras
    Oh, great find. I guess that's it. :) I'll move my example to there...

    Be sure to link the Twinmaker article from your article. :)
  • June 13, 2013
    zarpaulus
    This new name good?
  • June 13, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ @zarpaulus re: Organ Cloning: this isn't limited to organs (it includes limbs), and it's about using the cloned items as replacements.

    With regard to Clear Concise Witty, something like Cloned Replacement Body Parts would be completely Clear but not Concise or Witty. :(
  • June 13, 2013
    nitrokitty
    • Taken to a bizarre extreme in Transmetropolitan, where human body part cloning is so commonplace that a fast food chain called "Long Pig" serves it, and you can even grow your own vice presidential candidate.
  • June 14, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Film
  • June 14, 2013
    zarpaulus
    @Arivne: Well I wanted Therapeutic Cloning but people complained about it.
  • June 14, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I suggested Regenerative Medicine earlier, based on the real life example. But I guess it's not very clear/witty. How about Cloning Spare Body Parts? Or maybe just Cloning Spare Parts would be enough.
  • August 5, 2013
    StarSword
    Ba-da-bump.
  • August 6, 2013
    DAN004
  • August 6, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^Maybe
  • August 6, 2013
    StarSword
    I prefer the original Therapeutic Cloning. +1 for preexisting term, perfectly clear and concise (if not very witty).
  • August 6, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ I would prefer it too but apparently most people wouldn't have a clue what that meant.
  • August 6, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I'm usually always up for preexisting terms but I have to admit that when I first heard the title, I had absolutely no idea what it meant.
  • August 6, 2013
    xanderiskander
    It wasn't very clear to me either. "Therapautic" is a broad term that can imply a lot of different things. The current title is better because it clearly says what's being cloned. Also this page is pretty much ready. Just Launch It Already.

    ^^^ Also the definition for that term doesn't say anything about using it to make new organs or body parts.
  • August 8, 2013
    darthwedgius
    This may not be an example, because the purpose of the cloning is different. In a Larry Niven short story, "Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing," aliens want to grow human body parts... for dinner. Paraphrased, "Even a full suckling roast would be grown headless." They're offering advanced technology in return for licensing rights, but it's understood that if the humans don't agree, black market cloning would still occur.
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