Authors: Geoffrey Girard
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he DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers has been cloned by the U.S. Department of
Defense to develop a new breed of bioweapon. Now in Phase Three, the program contains dozens
of young men who have no clue of their evil heritage. Playing a twisted game of nature vs. nurture,
scientists raise some of the clones with loving families and others in abusive circumstances. But
A man with demons of his own, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail. But
Shawn didn’t count on the quiet young man he finds hiding in an abandoned house—a boy who has just
learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As Jeffrey and Castillo race across the country on the trail of
the rampaging teens’ increasing violence, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his
biggest fears—and who may also be his last hope.
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graduated from Washington College with a B.A. in literature and earned a M.A. in
creative writing from Miami University. He is the English Department chair at a private boys’ school in
Ohio. Visit him at
or follow him on Twitter @Geoffrey_Girard.
September 3, 2013
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for the nurture
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.
An Austrian monk named Mendel tried some biology experiments in the small garden of the monastery where he lived and
worked and prayed to God. It was the 1850s. Charles Darwin was
On the Origin of Species
and the first Neanderthal remains
had just been found in a cave near Düsseldorf. Mendel’s religious order,
the Augustinians, believed the pursuit of truth through scholarship was
essential toward spiritual enlightenment, and Mendel’s particular scholarly interest had turned to the study of heredity: how life-forms pass
traits on to their offspring.
To study this, he grew peas. Thirty thousand pea plant “children”
carefully bred from specific pea “parents.” he meticulously pollinated
and wrapped each pod, then examined and recorded their most minute detail: blossom color, pod hue and shape, and pod position. Thirty
thousand times. It took seven years, and he became partially blind from
squinting at all those peas.
at two meetings of the Natural history Society of Brünn, who subsequently published “experiments in Plant hybridization” in the club’s
official journal. In the document, Mendel proved how specific genetic
alleles (which he called
) in the parent peas controlled the traits of
the children peas. Some factors were strong/dominant, and others were
weaker/recessive, and the strong prevailed when the two met in an offspring. he started mapping these factors and eventually could predict
exactly what the offspring plant would look like.
Very few people read his paper, however. he wasn’t a “real” scientist, the real scientists decided. he was just a monk with a small pea
garden, and his work had more to do with ordinary hybridization than
the emerging field of Inheritance. And so he was almost completely ignored, and his findings were to be cited only three times over the next
Mendel next tried bees. he kept five hundred hives with bees collected from all over the world: African, Spanish, egyptian. he built
special chambers for the various queens to mate with foreign suitors and
promptly bred a new species of hybrid bee that produced more honey
than any other bee on earth. Alas, Mendel’s bees also proved more aggressive than any other bee on earth. They stung the other bees, his
fellow monks, and then struck Brno, a nearby village. he had to destroy
every hive, and killed ten thousand bees.
he returned to plants, which didn’t sting, but tried something other
than peas—a kin of the sunflower family called “hawkweed”—and it
didn’t work out. he was unable to corroborate his original conclusions.
Mendel grew depressed and stopped doing experiments of any kind.
When he died, the abbot who ran the monastery burned Mendel’s notes
and unpublished essays on Inheritance. It was another fifty years before
the scientific community rediscovered his original paper.
The professionals now liked, and understood, what they saw. using
Mendel’s principles and evidence on the biological machineries of Inheritance, they summarily progressed from charting peas to charting
frogs. from frogs to mammals. They figured out how to craft detailed
maps of DNA and isolated where each factor resided. Once isolated,
They eventually cloned a sheep from a single strand of DNA. A
small animal-sciences research institute in Scotland took one cell from
a parent donor, wedged it into an unfertilized egg cell that’d had its
nucleus removed, zapped it once with good old-fashioned electricity,
and made another animal. Identical. Two of—ignoring, technically, the
mitochondrial DNA within the donor egg—the exact same sheep.
They named the 98 percent copy Dolly, and Dolly became famous.
It was 1996.
Now, it was game on. The next five years yielded an explosion of
Japan constructed Noto the Cow. Thousands of Notos. The Italians cooked up Prometea the horse. Iran made hannah the Goat while
South korea made Snuppy the Dog and Snuwolf the Wolf. The Scots
made pigs; the french, rabbits. Both China and India grew duplicate
water buffalo. Spain and Turkey, bulls. Dubai crafted the exact same
camel a hundred and four times.
The united States, ultimately, did it better—and more quickly—
than everyone else combined. More labs, more commercial interest,
bundles more money. Cloning and biogenetic research were added to
every pharmaceutical company in the nation. even university students
were making clones, and California alone has more colleges than all of
Germany, france, and Great Britain combined. Within a decade, Americans had created Cumulina the Mouse. ralph the rat. Mira the Goat.
Noah the Ox. Gem the Mule. Dewey the Deer. Libby the ferret. CC
the Cat. And, at last, Tetra the Monkey. Mice to livestock to primates.
Cloning humans, by the way, is still completely legal in the united
States. everyone just assumes it’s not. A few states have banned it. Most
haven’t. And Washington keeps out of the way. Presidents may publically denounce it and advocate for moratoriums, but no such halts have
ever actually been enforced. The human Cloning Prohibition Acts of
2003 and 2007 were both voted down by Congress, and the 2009 version has been waylaid in various subcommittees for years. American
scientists can pretty much do whatever they want as long as they don’t
overtly use federal dollars. human cloning remains legal in twenty
other developed countries.
When Sir Ian Wilmut, the scientist who led the team that cloned
Dolly the Sheep, was asked about the possibility of cloning humans, he
replied simply, “It would be naive to think it possible to prevent.”