Human Genetics

How are human clones different from identical twins?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks


  1. Having a clone may seem like having an identical twin, except identical twins are born at the same time and cloning, by definition, would have to be done once a baby is born, if not at a later stage in life. Furthermore, once the clone is conceived, it would start its life as a fetus, not as an adult copy. Therefore, having a clone is more similar to having a child who is exactly like you, not an identical twin.

    Identical twins' DNA is not an identical match [source: American Journal of Human Genetics]. Slight genetic changes, called copy number variations, occur in the womb. With these variations, some coding is copied twice or is missing, so deep down at the genetic level, identical twins are not completely identical. Although a human clone would have exactly the same DNA as its host, it would still be capable of independent thoughts, feelings and interests, similar to identical twins. Furthermore, a human clone might grow up differently than the host because a variety of environmental factors and experiences work alongside genetics to mold a person's development.

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