No doubt by now you have the kitchen counter set up for Cold Fusion. Well, it's time
to move that baby away, or at least out into the dining room. Yes, another
space-intensive experiment, and so you're going to have to keep ordering out for pizza
Before you begin, you're going to need to make some decisions:
Decisions about that which you will clone:
Think carefully about these questions. It really is not practical to clone a
dinosaur in your kitchen. Whatever you're going to be using to carry the infant
dino-ette to term in, is likely to be bigger than your entire house.
- Is it animal, mineral, vegetable, or virtual?
- Is it bigger than a breadbox?
- Will it be capable of playing Twenty Questions with you?
- What are you going to do with it when you get done?
- If you plan to clone a human, have you filled out all the requisite
paperwork: proxies, disclaimers, adoption certificates, W-2 forms, waivers,
insurance, liabilities, and library card requests?
Decisions about that in which you will incubate what
- A living critter of the same species.
- A living critter of some other species.
- An incubator.
- A computer.
- A pod.
- Some sort of Alien dohickey for which there is as yet no name, but which
was left anonymously at your back door one dark and stormy night.
Decisions about how you plan to explain all this to the neighbors
and to the meter reader man:
- Only come out at 3 am -- that way you'll never have to talk to anybody.
- Study old horror flicks in order to cultivate a crazed demeanor. The
Frankenstein movies may be appropriate.
- Learn to answer questions like a politician -- hem and haw and waffle
with the best of them.
- Tell them the truth -- they'll never believe you.
Now, you're ready to begin!!:
Plant cloning is easy, and is indeed socially acceptable. Just go out there and start
propagating cuttings, and grafting branches on trees. If you graft branches onto your
house, expect a visit from your Zoning Board or your local Vegi-Humane Society.
Virtual cloning requires some computer skills, and as very few people keep their computer
in the kitchen, we will pass over this option in silence.
Mineral cloning is not yet possible. But you are free to experiment.
Let's go for the latest rage: Animal cloning. Since most of us don't have a friendly
neighborhood sheep, we get the next best thing, genetically speaking. We get a
sheepdog. (You can apply the instructions for cloning a sheepdog to any other animal
you care to name, adjusting, of course, in matters of scale.)
Cloning a Sheepdog:
(We're going to assume that you are going to use an incubator this time out, rather
than any of the other options above.)
- Prepare your incubator.
At a minimum, you're going to want to plug it in. If you can't find an operable
incubator at your local flea market, then you can adapt a very large toaster oven, or,
better yet, your oven itself. In order to keep humidity high, you'll need to change trays
of water every other day. Set your incubator at 98.6o Fahrenheit, which is
probably close enough to sheepdog body temperature not to make much difference.
- Prepare your pooch.
Your sheepdog isn't going to understand the next few months. Counseling may be
advised. Maybe for you, as well. Let your dog know that you'll love him as much as
ever, unless of course you got him or her for the sole purpose of honing your cloning
skills. In which case, fake it.
- Collect a cell.
Cells are small. You can collect more than one. You'll do best, especially if you are
just starting out, by finding cells which are alive. Thus, old hair and toenail clippings
are really not recommended for the beginner. Have your vet draw some blood next time
the pup is in for a checkup. Or, save the stuff that's left behind when you dock the
tail or ears. Now, you want to pick out just one cell. You can use tweezers in lieu of
forceps. If you're using blood, don't use one of the red ones. They missed out in the
nucleus giveaway, and don't have what you need. Use one of the white ones instead.
They're harder to find -- ever cut yourself and bleed white? No? Well, just be
patient. You'll find a usable cell eventually.
- Poke at it a bit until it starts dividing.
This is the tricky stage. If you are going to be putting this cell into another
animal's egg cell, you'd need to tell that second cell's DNA to give up its lifetime
lease option there. An eviction notice is all that it takes, but getting the cell
to read the eviction notice is the tough part.
- Put your dividing cell into amniotic soup.
This gives our cell all the nutrients it's going to need. Ask your local supermarket
to carry it. Add garlic if you find it too bland, but not too much! (You don't need
this step if you are going to convince some other animal to carry it to term -- in
which case you'll need a female animal that hasn't been "fixed"; and which
is, preferably, larger than the infant you hope to decant.)
- Set the bowl with the egg into the incubator.
Attach all sorts of plumbing and tubing, and electronic gear to measure whatever.
None of this stuff means much, but the show will assure you that all is proceeding
- Wait a couple months, monitoring temperature, humidity, and amniotic soup
levels, adjusting accordingly.
If you have a glass-fronted incubator or oven,
periodically note your clone's progress. Make sure you've got plenty of
room for the developing fetus; if not, get yourself a bigger incubator.
If it begins to look like Rosemary's Baby,
pull the plug, sell your house, and begin again anew on the other side of the continent.
- If the neighbors notice --
Beware, they may have seen too many viewings of Frankenstein, and may appear at your
doorstep yelling and carrying torches. What happens next depends upon how good you are
at extemporaneous public speaking.
- Decant your sheepdog:
Name it Dolly, especially if somehow you had convinced Pooch to part with a mammary gland
cell. Clean up. Call in the press. Decide why you went through all of this in the
YOU'VE CLONED YOUR FIRST ANIMAL !!!
Dolly's Cloning Emporium
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