"Will the cloned Abdul Kalam be of the same calibre?"
Madurai: If cloning a human being is a possibility, then will the clone have the same characteristics as that of the original? It was not a question raised by an expert at an international science congress. A higher secondary student from a rural school had it in him to get his doubt cleared at the `Meet the Scientist' event through a video conferencing organised at the Yadava College at its contact programme for talented science students on Saturday.
P. Rajkumar of Parasakthi Higher Secondary School, S. Kottaipatti, Peraiyur taluk, was not the only person to raise such a question. There were other many young inquisitive minds like him at the programme. They fired questions at the scientists and experts stationed at the Madurai Kamaraj University.
The questions ranged from cloning to human brain and atoms to chemical component of plastic. "Yes. I had read about cloning human beings. If this is possible then it should also be possible to create an exact replica of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. But I had the doubt whether the replica will be of the same calibre. Hence, I wish to get it cleared. I had a satisfactory answer that it is impossible to evolve a 100 per cent re-creation," Rajkumar said.
Experts from MKU, including, P. Maruthamuthu, Vice Chancellor, Rm. Pitchappan, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Immunology, P. Palanivel, Head and Chairperson, Department of Biotechnology, P.R. Athappan, Head and Chairperson, School of Inorganic Chemistry, K. Veluthambi, Professor and Head, Department of Plant Biotechnology, K. Manoharan, Department of Plant Physiology, N. Soundararajan, Reader, School of Physics, and R. Mohan, Professor and Head, Department of Comparative Literature, answered a volley of questions from the students.
Majority of the questions were in the field of Biology and it was visible that students were interested to know more about cloning.
Eighty-six students from 42 schools participated, in the programme, the proceedings of which were also projected at TVS Lakshmi Matriculation Higher Secondary School (MHSS) and Mahatma Montessori MHSS. "We had even plans to project it in some of the rural schools. But could not do it due to lack of ISDN lines. More than 62 per cent of the participating school students were from rural areas of whom 15 per cent were introduced to the latest technologies for the first time," said G. Thiruvasagam, Principal, Yadava College.