Cloning dead people? Cloning of Mouse: Frozen for 16 years

Written by

Futurist Keynote Speaker: Posts, Slides, Videos - What is Human Cloning? How to Clone. But Ethical?

Rate This Article


Scientists in Kobe, Japan, have successfully cloned mice from another mouse which had been frozen for 20 years. They removed the nucleus from brain cells which had been thawed out, and fused each nucleus with an unfertilised egg from which the nucleus had been removed. They gave each egg a small electric shock to simulate penetration by a sperm, and some began dividing normally into clones of the original mouse. They then implanted these cloned embryo into mouse wombs, where some developed normally. (1st November 2008)

What is remarkable about this animal cloning announcement is that these cells were taken from whole mice, which had not been treated in any special way before freezing. When living or dead tissue is frozen, small ice particles usually grow inside cells which often result in great damage to cell structure. For this reason, scientists usually remove cells from the body of an animal or human that they want to preserve by freezing, and soak the cells in a kind of antifreeze to prevent cell damage.

There is nothing new in cloning animals from frozen cells. Dolly the Sheep was the first animal cloned in this kind of way in 1997, and Australian researchers cloned a pig in 2001 from cells that had been frozen for two years.

So could extinct animals be cloned from frozen bodies preserved in permafrost? While this is a small possibility, the reality is that even at -20 degrees centrigrade, decomposition still happens slowly, and permafrost is often warmer than that. Bodies need to be as cold as - 140 degrees centigrade or more to totally stop cells becoming more damaged as time goes by.

Human cloning - grieving relatives who want to clone the dead

For some time people have contacted me on this website asking about ways to recover their loved ones using human cloning techniques - maybe from frozen tissue taken before death and held for research purposes in laboratories. There is no doubt that today's news will increase the number of people who think about such things. There is a fascination about human cloning research despite the huge risks, and some scientists have made claims in the past that they have implanted viable human cloned embryos into mothers to produce healthy babies. (Claims have never been proven, but a growing number of research centres are cloning human embryos routinely for medical research - so-called therapeutic human cloning. These embryos are used as sources of cell lines for growing in culture and the embryos themselves are destroyed at 14 days after fertilisation.)

However we need to look at the facts: cloning of animals requires a huge number of attempts to get successful births. Many cloned animals either die in the womb from malformations or are born with major life-threatening abnormalities. Even if scientists could manage to produce a healthy human clone from someone who died many years ago and who had been frozen, or had tissue samples frozen, it is hard to imagine the huge psychological risks to the wellbeing of such a child as they grow up.

That may not stop a very small minority of wealthy people in future, who may be driven by a desire to see dead people cloned - relatives, heros of history, people whose genes they admire.

I remember in 1998 a woman called Diane e-mailed me after her father died. She wrote that her father was a remarkeable man, "and I intend to see that he goes on in the world". Diane's hope was to be able to clone her father using a donated egg and some of her father's cells. She wanted to have the clone of her father implanted into her own womb, so she would give birth to a child that would technically be her uncle.

Please do COMMENT on the news story using the form below.

* The Japanese research into cloning a frozen mouse was undertaken at Kobe's Centre for Developmental Biology, reported in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Many more articles and videos on human cloning


Related news items:
Older news items:

Thanks for promoting with Facebook LIKE or Tweet. Really interested to hear your views. Post below.

December 05, 2015 - 01:49

thank you for the information!
i like that cloning mouse thing...
i wanna clone my dead hamster

thank you again for the article!

just me...
April 17, 2015 - 23:07

where do you guys get the idea of cloning?from extraterrestrial being?I want to know more...explain it all pls.

December 21, 2014 - 09:54

I just lost my brother exactly 2 weeks ago today.
Right now, I am grieving, so this human cloning stuff sounds wonderful to me.
Anything to have him back...provided there were no complications and he would be healthy, of course.

June 22, 2013 - 08:03

I agree with human cloning, because we could travel to other planets in solar system or else where. my name is walterchang from shenyang,China

April 04, 2013 - 06:55

I would love to have a clone-son of myself. If you are a single parent who has a clone the child never has to deal with the problem of having half their family not be there for them, and wonder about sperm donor, egg donor mommy, divorce crap. they would just have yours. I can guarantee that cloned babies would be some of the most loved, wanted babies on earth.

Reply to Ben
January 20, 2016 - 14:12

Yea, but have to ever thought of the side effects... Your "clone" could ether die or be born with abnormalities.

Babu G. Ranganathan
March 09, 2013 - 00:15

HOW DO EGG YOLKS BECOME CHICKENS? (Internet Article) When you divide a cake, the parts are smaller than the original cake and the cake never gets bigger. When we were a single cell and that cell divided, the new cells were the same size as the original cell and we got bigger. New material had to come from somewhere. That new material came from food. The sequence in our DNA directed our mother's food, we received in the womb, to become new cells forming all the tissues and organs of our body. Understand how DNA works. Read my Internet article: HOW DO EGG YOLKS BECOME CHICKENS? Just google the title to access the article.

Babu G. Ranganathan
(B.A. Bible/Biology)


January 29, 2013 - 09:17

yeah u did a great job on this articlre and the cloning the mouse thing sounds cool!

Reply to bebe
Patrick Dixon
February 01, 2013 - 01:48

Thanks - are you a student or a scientist or just interested?

heutic poison
February 16, 2012 - 19:14

many people thing cloning is hard but I have done it before in my lab with my partner bob smilkelheimer. It is not that hard to clone a moose or any dead animal or human. One of my clients wants me to clone their dead brother and i am in the process right now, so haha to you suckers who think it is impossible!!

December 22, 2010 - 06:29

God Bible ring a bell.... when humans play god bad things happen... even if you clone the dead... they will look like them on the outsidebut it wont be them on the inside!

Reply to katz
August 15, 2012 - 14:46
Re: cloning

hi my name is stitch/carey I just wanted to let my friends own in the states, and in Canada that I want to be turned into a human clone: after I die. I chose not to be put into a coffin, or to be creamated.. like my dadds before did. I think it should be legal in Canada and all over the world. To those people against human cloning, I guess it sucks to be you. Because by making human/ animal cloning legal it will give more people as well as animals more choice of what they want.. at the beginning of life and at the end of life.

December 20, 2010 - 20:28

hey i was jsut wondering who wrote this article

May 03, 2010 - 18:53

When was this artical written? And what is your First and Last name??


November 26, 2008 - 08:51


November 07, 2008 - 07:53

was it hard to clone a mouse

Join the Debate! What are your own views?