Could Michael Jackson Have Been Cloned?

Dolly, right, the first cloned sheep produced through nuclear transfer from differentiated adult sheep cells, and Polly, the world's first transgenic lamb, are in their pen at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, in early December, 1997. Scientists at the Roslin Institute produced Molly and Polly cloned with a human gene so that their milk will contain a blood clotting protein that can be extracted for use in treating human hemophilia. Ian Wilmut's technique motivated many governments to ban research on human cloning. Dolly was later naturally mated and gave birth to a healthy lamb. (AP Photo/John Chadwick)

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.

Robert Roy Britt

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.