Cloning the Red Heifer

by Guy Cramer

The rare birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third temple in Jerusalem.

Within hours of releasing our latest paper "Ashes of the Red Heifer", by Stephen M. Yulish Ph.D., the question was put forward by a reader:

"Is it possible that War could be started because of the Red Heifer? The way things are going, that heifer will likely be slaughtered long before it's third birthday. Are they planning to hide it somewhere?"

The answer to these questions was obvious, although it took me a few minutes to put the pieces together. They don't need to be worried about the red heifer's safety, since a clone(s) of the heifer can be made anywhere, anytime, and as many as you want.

I have been bombarded by questions about cloning recently due to the media coverage. Researchers in Edinburgh, Scotland successfully cloning an adult mammal. The first was a sheep named Dolly. The scientists have cloned a total of nine lambs so far. These lambs are genetic duplicates of the parent in which its DNA was used to create the clones.

Cloning duplicate mammals of one parent until this point was unsuccessful. How did they do it?

Cattle have been cloned in the past ( 1994 ), but the scientists didn't know what traits these clones would have because of the mix of genes from a father and mother mixing with the genetic material of the cattle they were trying to clone.

New discoveries by the Edinburgh scientist have lead to cloning exact duplicates. The scientists take an unfertilized egg and remove the eggs' DNA. They then put a full set of DNA from the animal to be cloned into the egg (Embryo growth can only begin when this full set of DNA is added to the egg). Then a spark of electricity is added to the egg sufficient to start the egg dividing into an embryo. After a few days in the culture dish, the embryo is then placed into the womb of a surrogate mother of the animal type being cloned. This clone is then genetically identical to the donor parent animal.

The one stumbling block others had failed to recognize was that the donor cell must first be treated with chemicals to trick the cells into resetting the biological clock so that the DNA would begin from the start to divide anew.

In this way an exact duplicate red heifer(s) can be produced at any time. The timetable for the temple may not be the year 2000. With cloning any time after the year 2000 is possible

Is it mere coincidence that Israel has the first red heifer born in the area in 2000 years, at a time when Arab-Israeli tensions are at a breaking point and the heifer may be seen as an appropriate target to those who oppose the rebuilding of the temple, and at a time when cloning the red heifer becomes possible with today's technology.

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- Yulish, Stephen M. Ph.D., "Ashes of the Red Heifer", March 23, 1997

- Weiss, Rick, "Scientists Achieve Cloning Success" Washington Post, Feb. 24, 1997; Page A01

-The Mid-East Dispatch, issue 237, the 16th of March 1997

-SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London) 3/16/1997

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