Would My Clone Think Exactly the Same As I Do?

Two cloned beagles, Magic and Stem, at the National Seoul University in 2009 in Seoul.

RNL Bio Co. Ltd./Getty Images

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Answer by Adriana Heguy, worked in genetics and genomics for the past two decades:

I’ll answer this from the point of view of a clone derived from an adult human, not a split embryo.

Think about it this way: Do identical twins, even those raised together, have the same thoughts? I would say not. Each person, even an identical twin, has different experiences, even slightly different, and this will change the way he or she thinks and acts, even if it’s slight changes.

Your clone will be much more different from you than your identical twin. How so?

First, your clone, if you are a man and thus have no oocytes of your own, will have different mitochondrial DNA than you. The mtDNA will come from the egg donor, and the nucleus wil come from one of your adult cells.  

Second, the womb where your clone will develop will not be your mother’s. This already creates a big difference. Even if it will be your mother’s, she will now be older, and no two pregnancies are alike.

Third, the parents that raise your clone will be different: Even if you persuade your now aging parents to adopt your clone, your parents are now different. They may also act differently toward the clone. They would expect perhaps certain things from your clone or try to prevent things that went wrong in your upbringing.

Fourth, your clone will grow up in a different world, with different environmental challenges and with different technology influencing his or her brain. The clone will be exposed to a different school system and different entertainment paradigms, too. 

Finally, your clone will have different experiences than you. He may have a really bad math teacher and end up being scared of math instead of becoming a big math guru, like you. He may be licked to death by a cute puppy, and grow up to love dogs, not like you, scared of dogs because a big German Shepherd bit you when you were little. These are just examples to make the point.

Your clone will not be you. He may have similar personality traits or tendencies, but his mind will not be exactly like your mind. He may react similarly to you in some situations, while in others, very differently.

I think it’s very telling that companies that specialize in cloning dogs and cats will guarantee the clone will look like very close to your dead beloved pet, but they will not guarantee it will have the same temperament.

Will my clone think exactly the same as I do in a given situation or will he have a different approach? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora: