I imagine that one of the final disappointments of Michael Crichton’s too-short life was the news that Japanese scientists had cloned a mouse from cells frozen for 16 years. Where were they when the rest of us were spending close to $1 billion to see Crichton’s vision of biotechnology run amok? In the lab freezing mice, I suppose.

The ability to clone animals such as mice is not new — since the 1996 breakthrough of Dolly the sheep, everything from cats and dogs to pigs and horses have been cloned. But those relied on living cells. What makes the Japanese scientists’ research noteworthy is its ability to replicate using genetic material extracted from cells damaged in freezing.

You might wonder who wants to clone thawed common mice. Nobody, it turns out. The scientists suggested that among the real… More…