SPECIAL SECTION: CLONING: TECHNOLOGY, POLICY, AND ETHICS
Cloning in the Popular Imagination
DOROTHY NELKIN a1andM. SUSAN LINDEE a2 a1 Department of Sociology and the School of Law,
New York University a2 University of Pennsylvania,
Dolly is a lamb that was cloned by Dr. Ian Wilmut,
a Scottish embryologist. But she is also a Rorschach test.
The public response to the production of a lamb by cloning
a cultured cell line reflects the futuristic fantasies
and Frankenstein fears that have more broadly surrounded
research in genetics and especially genetic engineering.
Cloning was a term originally applied to a botanical technique
of asexual reproduction. But following early experiments
in the manipulation of the hereditary and reproductive
process during the mid-1960s, the term became associated
with human biological engineering. It also became a pervasive
theme in horror films and science fiction fantasies. Appearing
to promise both amazing new control over nature and terrifying
dehumanization, cloning has gripped the popular imagination.