Is having an identical twin the same as having a clone?

Creative people might like to wonder how well cloning would work as a multiplier of self- imagine having more than one “you”! Identical twins have the privilege of  experiencing a somewhat similar feeling- yet would having a clone be the same as having an identical twin?

The idea of cloning is not new in the field of science, yet there exist no known human clones. Human cloning is a highly debated topic, and widely regarded as being of unethical nature. We’ve had clones of animals, such as Dolly the sheep- but the closest we have to human clones today are mono-zygotic, or identical, twins.

It is a common misconception among people that identical twins are the “same”. Most people also think that a clone is an exact copy of it’s parent.

They are wrong of course, and in both cases.

Identical twins might look the same to a large extent, they possess the same phenotype (observable characteristics of a living being) and genotype (the genetic makeup of a living being), but they are not completely identical. For one, their genetic makeup is highly similar, but not an exact copy of each other. Even in utero, each twin grows as a separate person- and because of slight variations in womb pressures and amniotic fluid, their characteristics, such as fingerprints, differ. Even after birth they develop differently due to differences in everything from diet to lifestyle choices.

Similarly, a clone too would grow in an environment different from the environment experienced by it’s genetic host. But unlike twins, a clone will not necessarily even look the same as their parent, because they are genetically identical to the parent (only to a large extent), but are not necessarily phenotypically identical to them.

There are of course other differences between twins and clones, the primary one being that twins are born biologically, they have two biological parents, while a clone would need just one genetic host and would be produced artificially- then transferred to a womb. Twins are also born by a matter of chance, while cloning is obviously the result of a conscious decision. Identical twins are born simultaneously and therefore are of the same age as each other, while clones are made at a later time after the birth of the parent, hence will always be younger than them.

So to answer our original question, one could just say ” no way!”