Could Michael Jackson Have Been Cloned?

Michael Jackson reportedly was very interested in being cloned.

"I really want to do it Uri, and I don’t care how much it costs," he is said to have told Uri Geller, a self-proclaimed psychic who claims to bend spoons with his mind (boy, if I had that power I'd sure use it for something besides spoon-bending!).

Whether the news report is accurate or not, the fact is the science didn't advance soon enough for Jackson. There have been no substantiated claims of cloned human embryos grown into fetal stages and beyond, despite rumors to the contrary. The capability to so do is near, however.

Could Jackson have been the first, if someone had tried?

Clones have been made of mice, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, monkeys and of course sheep. The technology has been around longer than you might have thought: A tadpole was cloned in 1952.

But the process remains ineffective. About 98 percent of all cloning experiments don't work, according to a Human Genome Project fact sheet, and many of those that work result in debilitated offspring and premature deaths.

More significant than scientific barriers could be ethical concerns. Physicians from the American Medical Association and scientists with the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued formal public statements advising against human reproductive cloning, the Genome Project notes.

In 2007, a policy analysis by the United Nations University concluded that cloning should be outlawed or the world must plan to protect clones from abuse and discrimination. Among the concerns: Cloning might turn human life into a commodity, leading to a spare parts market for harvesting human organs from cloned "brain-less bodies" for the rich as they seek to extend their life span.

Jackson, it was reported by The Mirror, "just wanted a mini-version of himself cloned to carry on his legacy."

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In The Water Cooler, Imaginova's Editorial Director Robert Roy Britt looks at what people are talking about in the world of science and beyond. Find more in the archives and on Twitter.