Gregory Kane’s story “Twins” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 19 October 2018.
The inspiration for “Twins” came from a discussion with my Biology students about Dolly the sheep. She made headlines in the late 1990s when scientists cloned her using a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Basically, DNA was taken from a body cell in a living sheep, placed in an empty egg cell and carried to term by a surrogate. Many students were surprised to learn that she and other cloned animals that followed often suffered early deaths compared to their “twins.” My students wondered if it was fair to create an animal if the research suggested an abbreviated life of illness.
I decided to write a story from the perspective of human clone teenagers. How would it feel to have perfectly healthy twins with normal lives and normal families while the clones watch one another dying in a laboratory? Would they be angry? Sad? Jealous? Would they long for a family and connections outside their confinement? As I began writing, I quickly discovered my main character suffered from an affliction common among all teenagers: he was lovesick. My narrative about children engineered by science was actually a love story.
“Twins” allowed me to look at the potential pitfalls of scientific experimentation as we enter an era of infinite possibilities. Human cloning, after all, isn’t a theoretical concept. It could be done today if it were deemed ethically responsible. The story created an opportunity to explore how humanity and science can often intersect, sometimes with unfortunate consequences.
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