Trees I think it screech owls and flying squirrels.
And so I go on these long trips trying to figure out the universe and even at that age I was in are at the world but unfortunately my parents and none of my sisters had finished high school so so I too was placed in this slow class with the kids that used to throw the spit ball so so I see what because I know that yeah so I came up with this plan to prove myself and actually.
At that time watching and Crick had just cracked the genetic code just a few years earlier so I decided to carry out what.
Amounts to genetic engineering as a kid yes I was actually a teenager around 14 and I had actually seen.
A black squirrel and so I wanted to see whether.
I could make it albino or vice versa and so I went to my biology teacher and he told me that it was impossible and everyone laughed at me but I was determined to prove em.
Wrong so I went into my basement and I figured out actually how to alter the genetic makeup of a.
White chicken to make them black by transferring genes from the pigmented chicken and my mother thought I was just.
Hatch chicken egg so I decided you know to really prove this I really needed to work with someone who understood that stuff so you know to me the greatest.
Place on the planet was Harvard Medical School so I saved up my nickels and dimes and took the buses and trolleys into Boston and it actually took me a half a day to get there I didn’t even know where I was going so I try to go into the front door and the God.
Didn’t let me was sort of like Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz you know when the palace god said go away but rather than leaving I went around the back and I waited by the Dipsy dumpster and I saw this little short bald guy walking up with khaki pants and.
A bunch of keys and I thought oh yes the janitor till he opens the door and I sort of shook them and a little way down the corridor he says well.
Can I help you sir and I said oh I’m looking for a Harvard doctor now what I didn’t know was that with Stephen koepfer chairman of the neurobiology department he had had just been nominated for no prize yes so so I thought he you know I.
Bet he was just the janitor and and so I told him that I was friends with the janitor down the street for me and then I work.
In the cafeteria and so he asked me why I was Erin and I said I was China you know I owe it all to the genetic.
Makeup of a white chicken and then I went on you know explaining about DNA thinking he doesn’t have a clue and then he actually.
Said well I know someone that can help you and he brought me upstairs you know passed all the spaghetti why Reynold -.
Actually the brain center at Harvard and he was just a grad student at the time so after talking with Josh all day they invited me back to repeat those experiments and in the work.
Was ultimately published in nature and in 1974 and and every now and then I would go back and the janitor would show up but I was always so excited to see him and it wasn’t it so later than I realized who he was.
So that was after how I I got into the hot side and where did you get the equipment for your high school project interfering with the genes of.
Living organisms where’d you get your equipment well it was really very challenging you know you have to remember I was just a little boy very short I didn’t look very old and you know I’d be trying to get syringes so I’d be at the hospitals trying to convince the doctors to give me syringes and then I would go to another hospital and convince them and to.
Give me penicillin and there was actually a gentleman who actually worked at one.
Of the state labs who had a centrifuge Celer so i put these all together and and managed over a period of time to figure out how to do it in a very crude way so.
You created your own biotech laboratory you’re basically a right yes to the furnace my mother actually had no idea I was doing it amazing you know when I was a kid.
I built an atom smasher in my garage you’re kidding me you understand when I went to Westinghouse get the phone to the transformer steel in 22 miles a copper wire weld a 2.3 million electron volt betatron in the garage can you as a kid what was out there meddling with the genes of living organisms yeah I mean that you know it was a fun time.
Okay well moving on now let’s talk about cloning we’ve heard so much about cloning in the media Arnold Schwarzenegger even had a movie where he he met his clone and the whole movie was based on criminal clones well.
And how far are we in terms of being able to clone animals primates and maybe even humans well.
Very simple you basically take the cell from the animal you want to clone and put it next.
To an empty egg that has has had all of its DNA removed and then you send us an electrical charge through the two cells and they fuse so when.
The cells fuse the DNA from the cell you wanna clone is dumped into the MPAA and another approach is just to inject the DNA directly into the empty egg the next step is to use chemicals then to fool that egg into thinking it’s been fertilized and so then this cell starts to divide.
And you end up with an embryo that can then be placed in a surrogate mother and everything goes well you can end up with a genetically identical copy of the animal you want to.
Clone and of course you know we’ve cloned at this point many dozens of species who have cloned endangered species glow-in-the-dark mice Oh herds of cows in fact you know there were many farm animals goats pigs cows and even pets such as cats and dogs now we had a chance the interview in Wilmeth the.
Scottish scientists who actually cloned Dolly explained to us exactly what he did what was Dolly.
And was Dolly premature aged there was some controversy about that well yes Ian Wellman was the first to actually a.
Mammal from an adult cell and so he actually took a cell and and went through the methodology I.
Just described and then that that DNA was placed into an empty egg from from another sheep and when Dolly was born everyone.
Thought uh because of the length of the telomeres and these are the ends of the chromosomes that determine how many kinds of cell can divide uh we all thought that that cloning basically Dolly was basically an older.
Sheep you know uh you know in in disguise and so what we actually did is published a paper in two thousand and actually showed actually but that wasn’t the case that you can actually start out with an old senescence cell that that’s decrepit and the cloning procedure actually restores that cell to a youthful state and allows it once again to start dividing into an entire organism so it actually turns out in the end using not only just sheep but also cows and.
Mice it’s been shown repeatedly now that in fact the calling is like a little time machine you can actually are rejuvenate that DNA and actually end up with youthful cells so in other words you are literally turning back the biological clock resetting it back to zero when this clone is born absolutely in fact in some of the experiments we did we actually were able to turn it back even more so that the cells actually had twice the life span that they normally should so again the process is very irregular so there’s a possibility that you.
Know that they may actually live shorter or longer and a lot of that depends on many factors so in other words the cloned animal in some sense may actually be an improved version of the original animal with longer.
Telomeres well certainly at the cellular level we know that that is the case now you know obviously aging is very complex there are other environmental factors that go into it but certainly at the cellular level we know that in some of these experiments we actually have.
Cells that that lived quite extensively longer okay now what kinds of animals have been cloned I understand that pets.
Have been cloned and I even went to Dallas Texas with the film crew from BBC television where we went to a ranch where we saw clones of clones of clones and a one series of.
Animals we had like eight animal calves all lined up in a line they were all twins so what kinds.
Of animals have been cloned well you know the list is quite extensive.
You know starting from mice rats and rabbits again all the various farm animals goats pigs horses in fact we created an entire herd of cows that actually was making human proteins in their milk that would genetically modified on top of that of course uh you know there are multiple different endangered species that.
Have now been cloned so in in theory virtually every mammal should uh in the future be able to be cloaked now in the newspapers every.
Once in a while some oddball announces that he’s done the first human clone however as I understand no primate has been successfully cloned what’s the status with regards to cloning primates and humans well as you point out cloning.
Primates including humans has been problematic you know back in 2001 we were actually with first group to clone the first early stage of human embryos and we were.
Doing that for generating cell stem cells not for Reproductive purposes and even to this date the technique isn’t perfected of course there was the long scandal where for a while we thought that someone had that technique worked out in fact just a few.