Tie the Novel Frankenstein by Mery Shelly (1831) to the topic of cloning

Tie the Novel Frankenstein by Mery Shelly (1831) to the topic of cloning

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Cloning is the creation of an embryo by the method of human somatic cell nuclear transfer (Ramsey 3). This procedure involves implanting DNA cells from one organism into a ‘neutral’ egg. A ‘neutral’ egg is one in which the DNA nucleus has been removed (Ramsey 4). After implantation, the newly constituted egg is then chemically treated so that the egg begins to behave as though fertilization has occurred. This results in the creation of embryonic growth of another organism that contains the complete and identical genetic code of the original organism. By learning more about the genetic code and how it works, scientists are hopeful that they can begin to breed out some of our more fallible weaknesses and breed in stronger codes. All of these conjectures can be said to have started with the introduction of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a sci-fi gothic horror novel that excited the imaginations of the post-Victorian age and continues to inspire today. Like the concept of cloning emerging now during a time of unprecedented change in computer technology and the many applications this has, the Industrial Revolution brought about world-changing possibilities during Shelley’s time. “By the beginning of the Victorian period, the Industrial Revolution … had created profound economic and social changes, including a mass migration of workers to industrial towns, where they lived in new urban slums” (“The Victorian Age”). Advances in technology and machinery during Shelley’s age touched off new scientific debate in the same way that our ability to discover things on a micron level has increased our ability to manipulate the world around us and the morals and ethics of whether we should do that. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution emerged during Shelley’s time as well, which threw into question many of the people’s religious beliefs (Landow) in a similar way in which new technological advances in gene manipulation have made many question whether or not we are trying to play god with human cloning. During Shelley’s time, the increasingly literate public was becoming more involved in these debates because newspapers and other periodicals were more widely available to them. This, too, has a parallel to today’s times as the Internet, Facebook and other media sites are linking people from far away to bring about new changes in the way we think and who is able to participate in the conversation. New media proved essential then and now in introducing and maintaining widespread discussions in the political and social issues of the day. One difference then was that fiction novels were recognized as having a voice in these discussions. “The Victorian novel, with its emphasis on the realistic portrayal of social life, represented many Victorian issues in the stories of its characters” (“The Victorian Age”). What Mary Shelley questioned most strongly in her novel remains a major question asked today: what is the proper role of the scientist in the contemporary age? In Frankenstein, the young scientist and one of the main characters is Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein pushes technology to its outer limits because he wants to overcome death. His idea is to re-animate dead tissue. Within the book, the science of the past is criticized because it has been

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