Monday, June 24, 2013

The Truth About Clones, World War Z Review, Thrill of it All Blogfest, and Movie Trivia Answers

Today I’d like to welcome fellow science fiction author, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan! Sandra knows her science and she’s here to share about clones. (Yes – clones!)

Are Clones Really Identical to the People They're Cloned From?

Clones, twins, and other types of doubles make for interesting fiction because they allow us to explore questions of identity. How much of what makes us unique is determined by our genes, and how much by our environment? One way to answer this question is by looking at people who have identical genes, whether they're natural twins or an "original" person (whom I'll refer to as the DNA donor) and the clone created from him or her. However, DNA donors and clones may differ from each other in unexpected ways.

Most of the DNA in each human cell is in the nucleus. Humans have twenty-two pairs of autosomal chromosomes (identical in form and genes) and one pair of sex-determining chromosomes. If you uncoiled the DNA in the chromosomes and laid them all end-to-end, the strand would stretch out for about six feet. It's a marvel of packaging that all this DNA fits into a space six micrometers (millionths of a meter) across. Surprisingly, most of this DNA isn't what we consider a gene: a stretch of DNA that codes for a protein or part of a protein. There are about 20,000 genes in the human genome, comparable to other animals. Many of the non-coding regions of DNA regulate how the genes are expressed.

When an organism is cloned, the nuclear DNA is copied and inserted into a receptive egg (one that had its own DNA removed). However, there is DNA outside the cell nucleus in special organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria are involved in the final steps of breaking down food to produce energy. They are thought to be ancient bacteria that became incorporated into eukaryotic (cells with nuclei) cells. Mitochondria still have their own independent DNA, and this DNA does play a role in certain human metabolism diseases. However, mitochondria are not normally transferred from the DNA donor to the clone. I did specifically mention in Lyon's Legacy that when Sean Lyon, a famous TwenCen musician, was cloned, his mitochondria were introduced into the egg along with his DNA. However, not all of the mitochondria from the egg were removed, so the clone will have both Sean's mitochondria and his mother's.

I mentioned earlier that there are many regions of DNA that regulate other parts, the genes. However, DNA can also be regulated by other means. In fact, there is a science called epigenetics that studies how gene expression can be changed by means other than changing the code in the DNA sequence. One way this can be done is by methyl (CH3, or a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms) tags attached to certain bases. Among other things, these tags can indicate which parent a person inherited a gene from and make it more or less active. This in turn may affect whether a person is diseased or healthy.

How does epigenetics affect a clone? For starters, if the methyl markers or other types of DNA modification are changed by the cloning process, the clone may fail to develop properly--or at all. But epigenetics aren't just inherited; they can change in response to the environment. I don't get into technical detail about epigenetics in Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes. However, I do point out that they are raised in very different environments, with the clone, Paul, growing up in a more stable home and with access to all the futuristic ideas about child rearing. How is he similar to his DNA donor, and how does he differ? You'll have to read Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes to find out.

Thanks to Alex for having me here today, and thanks to his Ninja Army for reading this. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Find Sandra HERE and purchase Twinned Universe at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Ninja News

TF Walsh just signed with agent Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary. Congratulations, TF!

Tyrean Martinson’s Dragonfold and Other Adventures is now available in paperback. Congratulations, Tyrean!

Thrill of it All Blogfest

Hosted by the awesome Tara Tyler and Heather Gardner.

The ladies are looking for a thrill.

And what could be more thrilling than Mini-Alex’s first concert?

It was his big moment. His first live performance of Rush’s YYZ.

Would his fingers cooperate? Would he hit all the correct strings? Frantic and in the zone, he tore through the riff.

Score!!!! He nailed it.

And the crowd went wild…

Trivia Answers

And the directors are…

1 – The Untouchables 1987 – Brian DePalma
2 – Groundhog Day 1993 – Harold Ramis
3 – The Usual Suspects 1995 – Bryan Singer
4 – Hugo 2011 – Martin Scorsese
5 – The 13th Warrior 1999 – John McTiernan
6 – Rango 2011 – Gore Verbinksi

Movie Review

World War Z
This is a different take on the zombie genre but not completely unfamiliar.
There are some genuine chilling moments. The set pieces and action sequences were really well done, especially Jerusalem.
Brad Pitt was good. He really cared about his family and we were invested in the story.
It’s PG-13 for a reason – it’s a bloodless affair. For a zombie movie, that was an odd choice. The Walking Dead is ten times gorier.
The ending was a bit of a head scratcher. I thought they said that no matter what, he was… Sorry, don’t want to give away the ending.
Half the time, people seemed to be dying because Brad Pitt was there. (Mental note – during a real zombie apocalypse, stay away from Brad Pitt.)
My final beef – the trailer revealed too much, including all of the money shots.
Lest you think I’m bashing this film, I must say that overall it was very effective and entertaining. It’s less a zombie film and more of an action-drama. It won’t break any new ground in the zombie genre but you will be entertained for two hours.

Did you learn something new about clones today? What is the big thrill in your life? Get the trivia correct? And who else saw World War Z?


155 comments:

Jeremy [Retro] said...

First, all right?

Lynda R Young said...

Oh! I'm looking forward to WWZ. Should be interesting. I kinda like that there's no gore. Yay.

yay too for Mini-Alex’s first concert. Definitely thrilling! ;)

And wow, so interesting about clones too.

Kyra Lennon said...

This is the first slightly positive review I've seen of WWZ!!

Congrats to TF Walsh, awesome news!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Congrats to TF Walsh, Sandra, and Tyrean! How exciting

Brian Miller said...

haha ok stay away from brad pitt....so this was worth seeing or wait for the redbox?

interesting stuff on the clones...does make you wonder if clones were raised in different circumstances and seperate ow different they might turn out...

Carolyn Brown said...

I am glad to hear that you liked WWZ, I am hearing mixed reviews!
I like the cloning take for The Thrill of It All!

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks again for having me, Alex! I enjoyed seeing mini-Alex cloned.

Thanks for your interest, Lynda and Carolyn.

Brian, I'm sure clones raised in different circumstances would be different from each other in some key ways. However, they might have some surprising similarities too.

I'll respond to comments as often as my schedule permits.

michelle said...

Definitely a thrilling moment for mini-Alex!
That's some interesting stuff on cloning...

Writer In Transit

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting cloning info! :)
WWZ doesn't sound like my kind of film - maybe once it's on TV :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks for the WWZ movie review! It sounds like it was good not great, but not a bad way to spend two hours, either. Hmm, I'll make it a "maybe" for the theaters, a "yes" for DVD. :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I'm looking forward to seeing World War Z on Thursday. By the way, I've still never seen The Untouchables. I need to fix that!

Jo said...

Fascinating about clones. I must admit I didn't totally understand all of it. But I basically get that a clone will not necessarily be exactly like the donor.

What a thrill for mini Alex.

Annalisa Crawford said...

As always when I read something scientific, I follow it so far and then my head explodes. It's nothing to do with the author, it's just the way I am! The bit I understood was interesting though :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

First, Jeremy! Dude, you were up early this morning.

Lynda, next to no gore.

Brian, it was cool on the big screen. If you have a big screen television, you could probably wait.

Sandra, you're welcome!

Madeline, that's a good way to mark it.

Optimistic, excellent film!

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

This was a very interesting subject to read about Alex. All this clonning, I know they have done it with sheep in Scotland. Heaven forbid if they cloned me, one of me in the world is enough.

Yvonne.

Mark Koopmans said...

My parents read this- and are happy there is only one me...

Christine Rains said...

Great guest post! Science is fascinating. Yay for Tania! I'm so excited for her. Excellent thrill for mini-Alex! He rocks! I'm writing down to stay away from Brad Pitt altogether. You never know when the zombie apocalypse is going to happen!

Heather M. Gardner said...

I've wondered about making clones of myself to help me get more done but I think its too dangerous. It would be safer to hire an assistant. Thanks for all the info!

Yeah, TF! Congrats!

Was gonna skip WWZ until I can get it from Red Box. :)

Great thrill, Alex! You must be so proud of Mini-Alex!

Happy Monday!
Heather

SA Larsenッ said...

Sandra, a very interesting post! You've really made me think and examine the workings between 'clones' or similar peeps. Gosh, this is such a complex subject.

Juliana Haygert said...

Aw, it's so fun when you share Mini-Alex's adventures ;)
I have high hopes for World War Z. Don't spoil them!

L.G. Smith said...

Yep, learned something about cloning -- the science is over my head. :P

Kind of glad to hear WWZ isn't full of gore. I had to stop watching Walking Dead because I couldn't take the blood and guts anymore.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Congratulations to T.F. on the agent and Mini-Alex on his first concert! Definitely a big thrill for them both.

Nicki Elson said...

You are having lots of fun with little Alex, aren't you...maybe a little too much fun, hehe.

Sandra, yes - genes versus environment is exactly why I find clones fascinating.

Pat Dilloway said...

I wish I had a few clones so I could get more done.

Old Kitty said...

More Capn Alex clones with transparent underpants please!! And I would have done a Tom Jones groupie and thrown something naughty at Mini-Alex's concert had I gone...!

Gosh is it only Monday? Off I go to find my perennial bucket of ice water! Take care
x

Teresa Coltrin said...

I wish I had a clone, but I would need to be the boss over my clone. Is that possible? Cause I would like one.

Brad Pitt grew up not far from where I live. His parents (I think) and brother still live in the area. His brother heads a wonderful human service organization for children. Believe it or not, I'm not a big fan of Brad's movies. I'm not sure why.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

And the crowd went wild…

I fear that someone would want to clone me... I think I learned so much, thank you...

My thrill... is new name, design, t-shirts and my four books...

Now I just need the luck, fingers crossed.

Jeremy
It's not easy...
[Being-Retro]

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'll probably see WWZ but I'm not in a hurry. My big thrill was retiring this year. I love reading the science stuff.

Pat Hatt said...

Will prob wait on world war z, as Pitt isn't a favorite by me.

Clones could be out and about, who knows. Knew much but some interesting tidbits indeed.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I'd like to say I learned something about clones, but that's actually assuming I understood what any of that meant. Science has, uh, never really been my forte.

I kinda want to see WWZ and kinda don't. Maybe that's a sign to rent it on DVD in a few months.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Alex, have you read the book? I'm a big fan of the book, and the knowledge that the movie is so so different, has kind of turned me off a bit on the movie. I still want to see it, i just don't know that i want to see it more than some other movies, you know?

Jay Noel said...

I thought it was strange that they made a PG-13 zombie movie. But that would explain the lack of goriness.

Not dying to see it, but I do want to read the book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Annalisa, that made me laugh!!!

Christine, just avoid him and you have a chance.

Heather, I'd never made it without clones.

Juliana, you'll still enjoy it.

LG, almost no gore at all. Walking Dead is ten times gorier.

Nicki, everyone wants to see him!

Kitty, that is hysterical!

Teresa, they are handy.

Jeremy, your new site is awesome.

Brandon and Bryan, I'd take it as a sign...

Sarah, I haven't read it.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks to all of those interested in the topic of clones, and apologies if I didn't explain everything clearly enough.

I could certainly use some clones to help me get my work done, but I think instead I'll borrow the Ancient Egyptian custom of using ushabtis (little clay figures that work for a person in the afterlife).

J. A. Bennett said...

I wish I could've seen Mini-Alex kill it! I bet it was awesome!! :)

J. A. Bennett said...

I wish I could've seen Mini-Alex kill it! I bet it was awesome!! :)

Karen Lange said...

Nice to see Sandra here! Congrats to TF and Tyrean! Thanks, Alex, for always keeping me in the loop. Happy Monday!

Melissa said...

I'm in science nerd nirvana. *faints*

M.J. Fifield said...

Mental note – during a real zombie apocalypse, stay away from Brad Pitt. <--- Hahahahahaha!

I've heard good things about this movie. I normally avoid zombie movies unless Simon Pegg is in them, but if this is truly a bloodless affair, I might be able to watch it. With my eyes open, even.

Morgan said...

Oh. My. Gosh. At first I was DYING with mini Alex being cloned, but then I saw mini Alex in his first concert and LOST IT... Seriously laughing!!!!

Stephen Tremp said...

A most excellent post from Sandra today! I read it twice and enjoyed the content very much. Good stuff!

We'll see World War Z probably this weekend for Sunday date night.

Em-Musing said...

Interesting info on cloning. Brad Pitt and zombies? Oh, yeah! I'm going to watch that movie. Enjoyed your review.

Julie Dao said...

Very informative post on cloning! I always joke about wanting clones to help me write the dozens and dozens of story ideas in my head, but the fact that they may have unexpected differences from me makes me hesitate a bit! Ha!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

The piece about clones was fascinating.
Congratulations to all the authors on their milestones!

Debra McKellan said...

It's funny that you mentioned YYZ. I was watching Archer, and they kept mentioning that in one of the episodes. I think the scientist was trying to master it. He kept saying "It's Y-Y-ZED!"

Angela Brown said...

Clones...every time I think of them I can't help thinking of that movie where the guy makes clones of himself and they get well...dumber and dumber lol!

And I'm finding many movie trailers giving away the money shots nowadays -_-

VikLit said...

Fascinating info about clones!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

My husband is so excited to see World War Z. He's read the book at least four times, and we can already tell the movie is going to be very different from the book. So he's trying not to get his hopes up, but I think he's failing. :)

Liesel Hill said...

Interesting discussion on DNA and clones. I didn't get to see World War Z this weekend-- :( --but hopefully next weekend. Glad you liked it overall. :D

Justine Dell said...

Hey Alex!

Did you think World War Z was just like War of Worlds only with Brad Pitt instead of Tom Cruise? That's what the trailer looked like to me. If not, I'll totally see it. :-)

~JD

Mark Means said...

I had read where WWZ was supposed to have a totally different ending and that there was a lot of reshot footage that held up production. I think I'll be waiting for Netflix, either way :)

Congrats to Tyrean on her new release!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Alex,

Hope you enjoyed your weekend...

Very interesting facts on cloning...

Mini Alex certainly did ROCK!!!!!

Congrats to Tyrean and TF... ALL THE BEST!!!

Sadly no big thrills for me lately, but no pitfalls either... So floating in limbo at the moment. But that's okay for now...

Thrills are in the making...

Tara Tyler said...

that clone info was perfect to help with my next book! thanks! and i love your application in your twin worlds!

yay for gina and tyrean!

and awesome thrill!
little alex's first concert! i can see the lighters and hear the cheers!! love it!

and thx for the movie review too =) as expected.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jay, I guess the two are completely different. And no gore made it a little odd.

Sandra, want to borrow one of my clones?

MJ, there really wasn't much in the way of normal zombie gore.

Morgan, I am here to amuse!

Julie, who knows what your clone might write?

Debra, that's right - it's definitely not XYZ.

Angela, I'll have to look for that movie.

Rachel, I think the concept is there, just completely different story.

Justine, no, very different. And War of the Worlds was gorier.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Very interesting facts about cloning, but I was disappointed that Alex's clones weren't revealed! Congjrats to all of the authors! Cute story about Mini Alex!

Julie

Beverly Fox said...

Yay for Mini Alex! I can hear that solo now...

I'm holding off on WWZ mainly because i'm a hard-core devotee of the book and the movie is so drastically different I'm concerned i'll just be angry. Everyone tells me to just forget about the book and watch the movie as if it has nothing to do with it except for the title but I'm not sure I can. So i'm waiting for it to hit DVD before I give it a shot.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Go Mini Alex!!! Woohoo! (Crowd still going wild!) :)

Thanks for the shout out! I really appreciate it!

WWZ actually sounds better now that I know it's a bloodless action drama. I'll definitely remember to stay away from Pitt during a zombie apocalypse! That part made me laugh out loud. :)
(I've never been one of the Pitt or DeCaprio swooners)

Love the post on DNA and cloning, Sandra! Good info. Now I know to blame my mitochondria for all my food issues. :)

Bish Denham said...

I'm glad Mini Alex hit all the right notes! I doubt I'll be seeing WWZ because I'm just not into Zombies.

Tyrean Martinson said...

And wow! Thanks for all well wishes from the awesome blog buddy commenters!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

It's mind boggling to learn about clones. I didn't think they could really be created - thought Mini Alex was the one and only. Well, he is. But thanks for the info, Sandra and Alex.

xoRobyn

D.G. Hudson said...

Yes, mini-Alex adventures (or concerts) - I like that! Thanks, Alex for sharing his big moment with us.

Interesting info about DNA, Sandra, but this is way more than I knew before. Anything that helps fight disease is worthwhile investigating.

A clone might be good, but I think I prefer to be unique. Clones may be like robots and want to attain freedom. (a la Blade Runner and I, Robot)

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

Mini Alex will have a life time of thrills. I can see it. I saw World War Z yesterday. I am not a zombie fan. I don't know anything about zombie lore, so the approach they took worked for me. I loved it, but it concluded a little to quickly for me. I would have invested another hour or two in this story.

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

Mini Alex will have a life time of thrills. I can see it. I saw World War Z yesterday. I am not a zombie fan. I don't know anything about zombie lore, so the approach they took worked for me. I loved it, but it concluded a little to quickly for me. I would have invested another hour or two in this story.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

thank you!

Sandra Almazan said...

There are so many great comments here I'm not sure I can respond to everyone individually. Thanks to Karen, Melissa, Stephen, Em-Musing, Julie, Lee, VikLit, Liesel, Michael, Tara, Empty Nest, Tyrean, Rawknrobyn, and D.G.

Angela, I guess the clones in that movie weren't made very well!

Alex, there's an idea; we can all swap our clones so we don't feel bad about making them work!

I'll be back....

Leovi said...

Yes, clones can give much play in a novel, is a very interesting topic! Best regards!

Julie Flanders said...

Love mini-Alex's concert! He's a rock god for sure.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

I read Sandra's first book. I'll have to pick up this one. I like how she explores cloning.

I saw World War Z this weekend. Wasn't impressed. The only movie I'm looking forward to is Pacific Rim.

Now all we need is a movie with kaiju zombies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mark, they did do a lot of reshoots.

Michael, sometimes cruising is good.

Tara, thousands of lighters and cell phones!

Julie, that must always be a secret...

Beverly, yeah, just forget you read the book.

Tyrean, you're welcome. Thanks for cheering on Mini-Alex and glad I could give you a laugh.

Robyn, yes he is!

DG, good point. Mine just want their own Kate.

Sydney, the last ten minutes did wrap up quickly.

Sandra, I'll send a dozen of mine over.

Patricia Lynne said...

I have to drag hubby to see World War Z this weekend. Would have saw it opening weekend, but I was out of town. =( I had the book as a giveaway once, but never took the chance to read it.

Murees Dupé said...

I am sure seeing Mini-Alex perform must have been quite a thrill. It sounds really amazing.

Robin said...

I think World War Z can wait until DVD.

Andrew Leon said...

I haven't seen it, yet, although I want to. My understanding about the ending is that it has to do with sequels.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Alex, with all the problems this film had in development, I'm not surprised the review is lukewarm.

Samantha May said...

I'm not a huge fan of gore anyway, so maybe I'll enjoy WWZ.

All of the DNA information brought me back to my high school biology class. I'm surprised I even remembered half of it :D

Julie Luek said...

Wow-- fascinating post on DNA and cloning-- thanks for sharing. What a great premise for a book.

Yolanda Renee said...

Love your thrill entry! Go Alex!

As for Zombies, don't think I could sit through another one right now, too many horrific nightmares. I'll wait for the video, but glad the blood and gore is limited, but so many coming at you at one time, can't be a welcome picture to behold.
Thanks for the review!

Al Diaz said...

Thanks for the clone information. Sessin and Tassin are developing an original cloning machine from observations they made of yours. I am not sure what's gonna come out of this, mostly after Sessin's encounter with Jezebel's punch. He looks odd but as long as they don't come up with zombies, everything is okay.
Congratulations to mini-Alex for his first live concert. Will he want to sign an autograph for my dwarves? And also lend us the lights he has in the background? ;)
Since you say the Z movie is not a traditional zombie movie I just might give it a chance. I like action.

Catherine Stine said...

Twinned Universes sounds great. Sandra is one smart scifi author! I'm intrigued enough by WWZ to go see it. But tonight I'm going to see the Somali Pirate flick.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Clones and twins are both fascinating subjects Sandra. Also the differences and similarities. I loved reading the studies of identical twins separated at birth and seeing how similar they are in choices, careers, hobbies. Even health. The science behind the ability to clone is amazing.

Sounds to be a great premise for a book. I'm going to have to check it out.

Alex, I haven't seen WWZ. Not sure I want to. Me and zombies do not have a cordial relationship. I bet hubs will watch it tho. He loves zombies ans much as I don't.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Jo said...

Oh oh, a dwarf designed cloning machine. See what you started Alex?

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

Interesting stuff on clones...

Yay for mini-Alex! Way to go!

Will have to check out World War Z...when it comes out on video- I don't make it to the movie theater but once a year if I'm lucky- too busy, I guess. :)

Ricky said...

Looks like I enjoyed it a bit more than you did Alex.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

My dad once told me clones were no more alike than identical twins were alike. From reading about the clone process, I'd say my dad was right. Sounds like a natural identical might share more likenesses than a clone and the donor.

My oldest teens saw Z. They came home unimpressed. I will hold out and rent it.

Suze said...

YYZ.

Ambitious. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Well, I didn't follow all that scientific DNA talk. I do find it fascinating, however, since I am the mother of twins. At the moment they do not appear to be identical. I didn't have their DNA tested. They are more alike than non-twin siblings, but have their own personalities.

Cherie Reich said...

Fascinating learning a bit more about cloning and DNA from Sandra!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Andrew, I could see the original ending being very different.

Yolanda, creepy but next to no gore.

Al, he's be happy to sign something for the dwarves. Making their own clone machine you say? Be ready to pull the plug should something go wrong...

Jo, I know!

Ric, I still thought it was good. I do like gore in my zombie movies though.

Suze, I sure wouldn't attempt it!

John Wiswell said...

Even positive takes on WWZ, like yours, make it sound like another generic zombie disaster story. It's hard not to be a little bitter after Brooks gave them such incredible source material. Maybe I'll catch it on Netflix, but certainly not paying the cinema price for that.

Carrie-Anne said...

When I was a teenager, I thought it would be really cool if I could be cloned. Now I'm not so sure because of the potential ethical dilemmas.

My little brother will probably see World War Z, simply because he's such a huge zombie aficionado.

LD Masterson said...

Fascinating info about cloning. Still a scary concept.

Go Mini-Aex. You rock!

Biggest thrill in my life? Too easy - the birth of my sons.

M Pax said...

Zombies. Shudder. It seems sacrilege to pair Brad Pitt with something so icky.

Congrats to Sandra, Tania, and Tyrean. Woot, woot!

Seems mini Alex had a lot of fun.

Livia Peterson said...

Awesome movie review, Alex! I like action-drama movies and Brad Pitt, so I will probably be entertained. What I'm worried about is will I have nightmares after watching it? I guess you can help me answer that questio Alex...

And mini-Alex seemed to have a blast! You should take him to his FIRST movie in the cinema ;)

Nicole said...

Mini Alex makes his debut playing Rush? Love it!

Pat Tillett said...

Very interesting information about clones and cloning. Thanks for posting that!

WWZ...
I guess that being somewhat "bloodless" is kind of breaking new ground. Do you think they were trying to appeal to a broader audience?
Thanks Alex, great review. I'm sold!

Carol Kilgore said...

I don't understand cloning, but I still think it's fascinating.

The Words Crafter said...

I just love science-y stuff, even when some of it is so far over my head that it's practically sitting on the moon. Very informative. I actually knew a couple of the things she spoke about. huh.

Grats to the newly signed and newly released! And way to go Mini Alex :)

Interesting about the movie...

SC Author said...

Good review on WWZ. I'll wait until it comes on Redbox. Got a little lost in all the DNA lingo though X_X That science is crazy!

Helena said...

Thanks for Sandra's explanation of genetics and epigenetics and how they play a role in her book, which sounds great. I've read a little bit on epigenetics and am fascinated with how genes can be expressed or turned on or off and how that can affect a person.

World War Z looks good, but when too many important scenes are shown in a trailer I always suspect that the movie might not be so good or the producers wouldn't have to oversell it.

Melissa Sugar said...

I'm fascinated by the study of cloning (Don't throw tomatoes at me- I'm not trying to clone humans), I'm just amazed at the advances in science and the reproductive system. My 11 year old son and I were discussing genes vs environment today. He has a difficult time understanding exactly where he came from because you see, technically he is adopted, but he is genetically our son. Wow, that's a mouthful and I'm afraid people might really start throwing things at me because I do realize that some people are morally opposed to IVF and other methods of assisted reproduction. After giving birth to my triple girls (only one of my precious girls survived, after they all lived for months in the N.I.C.U.), but after the high risk birth I was unable to carry children. I also wanted to share something about twins. My triplets were two identical (Blake and Casey) and they were fraternal with Ashley. Weird, I know. Apparently the IVF produced multiple eggs. I became pregnant with two and then one of the two eggs split, forming the identical twins. It is extremely rare and it is called "a pair and a spare." I'm sure that if they all lived, the term would be funny, but it makes me sad.

Back to my son. I was unable to carry a child to term after that so my ex and I had one of our embryos (his sperm and my egg) implanted inside a woman's uterus, who agreed to carry our child. It is similar to a surrogate, but the typical surrogacy impregnation involves the husband's sperm and donor eggs (belonging to the woman carrying the child). She becomes pregnant through artificial insemination with the husband's sperm. Our situation differed because the woman did not contribute genetically to our child. She is what is referred to a a "gestation host."

Why the adoption? It's the same for a surrogate or a gestation host. The person who actually gives birth to the child, whether it be for a regular adoption, a surrogate or a gestation host, is legally the mother. In our case and in most cases just like it, the birth mother and the child's natural father (my ex) are named on the initial birth certificate and then my husband and I had to actually adopt our own child (because I did not give birth to him) Complicated...I know.

So now that I've provided what some my call WTMFI and others will think we are horrible people for going to such extreme lengths to have kids, I will say that I'm very intrigued by the book and I'm extremely eager to read Twinned Universes.

The situation concerning the birth of our son would make for a great novel, but I'm far too close to the issue to ever write about it.

Suz said...

Was I there at Mini-Alex's concert? Seem to see it through a purple haze. I am sure it was thrilling for the audience, too.

Allison said...

Mini-Alex looks like he had a pretty fun time.

Allison (Geek Banter)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Alex,

I've always found the whole business of cloning a fascinating subject. So too genetics.

Jeff Hargett said...

Just don't go getting any of that zombie DNA in your clones!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

John, it wasn't anything new, but it was still good, if that makes sense.

Livia, it does have a high creep factor. Mini-Alex does need to go to the movies, doesn't he?

Pat, just the fact it was PG-13 tells me they were going for a broad audience.

Helena, they just gave away the money shots, like the zombies climbing the wall.

Melissa, wow - I didn't know you'd been through all of that! Your children must be so special to you.

Suz, that made me chuckle.

Jeff, that would be bad...

Emily R. King said...

Alex! I'm waiting for your movie review of Monsters University! :)
In case you didn't notice, I love your reviews!

klahanie said...

Okay Alex, was that an article that possibly explains why you seem to be in many places? I do find it weird that you've been known to comment on my posts seconds after I've posted. Or perhaps, perhaps...hmmmm....

Very, very, interesting, interesting, Sandra, Sandra :)

Thanks for all the links and mentions. A Blogfest? One moment please. Arggggghhhhh!!! Phew, I'm better now.

Mini-Alex and a Canadian band, eh. Superb.

World War Zed. Perhaps I could ask my son to give me some money so I could go watch it.

The big thrill of my life is visiting your blog.

Be well, I'm going now....

Jennifer Lane said...

I learned a lot about DNA! Love Mini Alex rockin on his guitar. For some reason I can't stand Brad Pitt so I'll pass on that movie. But I saw Olympus Has Fallen at the dollar theater on Saturday and loved it.

Sarah Foster said...

I'd love to clone myself just so I could send the clone to work and I could stay home and write...

I usually don't do zombie movies but was thinking about seeing World War Z. The fact that you said it's bloodless has actually motivated me more. I think I can handle it.

Kimberly said...

I enjoyed WWZ, but I felt like something was missing to make it really spark - can't place my finger on it though. :)

Julia King said...

My dad is an identical twin. He and his brother are exactly alike. They even wore the same pair of glasses for a while. Their voices even sound the same. They graduated with the same degree, enjoy the same things, and named all their kids starting with the letter J. The only thing that is different about them is my dad has a moustache and my uncle sports a beard. They could be clones for sure.

I don't know if I'll be seeing World War Z, but maybe one day it'll show up on Netflix and I'll watch it for the heck of it.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks again for all the great comments, everyone, and thanks again to Alex for being such a great host!

Chuck said...

Alex, that clone stuff was interesting and very deep. I think I actually learned a thing or two.

I did know Harold Ramis did GHD but didn't remember it. How weird since I loved that movie and then remembered seeing an interview Ramis did about the production.

Way to rock, mimi-Alex...great choice of tunes.

I will see Pitt and the zombies...I just have to.

Ella said...

I did learn more about clones! Nice to meet Sandra :D

I saw WWZ today in 3D...I had a good time, but was thinking like you-bloodless and the money shots were given away...?! The ending left me wondering....
Happy Mini Alex had a great time ;D

Bossy Betty said...

Lots going on. Now I am thinking about clones. Oh Oh. This could take all night.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got some clones in my story right now

Jamie Gibbs said...

I figured that would be the case with WWZ; from the looks of the trailer it looked to be high-octane nonsense (omg. a wall. of zombies!). I might wait for this on DVD; I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to zombie lore.

Donna Hole said...

I saved this link to my Cyborg fairytale so I could use some of the info to keep the story going. Thank you Sandra - uhm, I'm sure real soon I'll probably have lots of questions for you. This was fascinating!

Loved your Thrill of it all entry mini Alex. You Rock, lol.

Zombie movies that are all squirting blood are getting a bit overdone. I like Walking Dead because it not just zombies to deal with. But the blood doesn't bother me. Thanks for the review Alex.

......dhole

Rachel Morgan said...

Really enjoyed reading Sandra's cloning guest post. Made me feel like I was back in university in one of the classes I loved :-)

mooderino said...

No-gore zombie movie is a very odd way to go with the genre.

mood

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and Sandra - what a great post on clones - very interesting and informative ... and something different to bring into your books .. I must read them at some stage.

Well done to Mini Alex - clever lad to nail the riff ...

Failed with the movie trivia .. and will not be seeing World War Z .. probably some years hence!

Cheers - and thanks for the guest slot given by Sandra .. Hilary

politelyinsulting said...

Fascinating stuff. Desperate to see World War Z... Just need to get over my hatred of the cinema first!

ediFanoB said...

Thanks for the helpful WWZ review.
Now I know what to expect.

Brinda said...

I'm dying to see World War Z. All my time away from work is spent writing at the moment. I'm working against a deadline on edits for my 3rd book.

I think I'll take a break and see White House Down this weekend.

Misha Gericke said...

Seriously interesting writing on clones. It's so cool to think that scientist are starting to control DNA enough to determine who's healthy and who's not.

On the other hand, the possibilities of this is quite chilling.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Emily, sorry! Didn't see it. Maybe you can tell me how it was instead.

Gary, of course Mini-Alex is rocking Canadian! And not giving my secrets away on blog commenting just yet...

Jennifer, hadn't seen that one yet. White House Down comes out this weekend though. Movies always seem to travel in pairs.

Kimberly, the lack of gore?

Julia, that's freaky.

Chuck, and he was in the movie as well - played the doctor.

Ella, we shared the same thoughts...

Jamie, the lack of gore was weird.

Moody, it was odd.

Edi, just don't expect a zombie movie.

J.L. Murphey said...

I agree with your take on WWZ.

Terri Rochenski said...

All that clone info sent my head into a raving spin. Need more coffee!!!

Prob won't see WWZ - I'm still waiting to get a sitter so I can catch Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel!!!!!!!

DL Hammons said...

I thoroughly enjoyed WWZ!! I'd give it 4/5 stars and my experience of it would have been even better had they not put so much in the trailer...especially the airplane sequence. I preferred the lack of gore (Walking Dead violence borders on gratuitous) and a hero who wasn't there to just rack up a body count.

Rusty Webb said...

I dug WWZ myself. Your complaints are dead on too. And I'm glad Sandra put so much research into the whole clone thing. Good stuff

Cassie Mae said...

Blood or not, I'll probably still have nightmares if I watch WWZ.

Though, it is one of the only books my hubby has read. Maybe I should take him if only to prove that books are always better than the movie ;)

Jenelle Leanne said...

Interesting thoughts on clones.

I have not seen World War Z - the trailers made me think it was definitely going to be a rental (if I watched it at all). Now that I have to schedule and pay for babysitters when I want to go to a movie, I am a bit more picky about what makes me "watch in theater" list.

"During zombie apocalypse, stay away from Brad Pitt" hahahahahahaha! Loved that!

Nancy Thompson said...

I find all they DNA stuff so fascinating, even if I don't understand half of it. As for WWZ, no way! I don't have the stomach for zombies of any kind, gory or otherwise, & have never understood their appeal. Now, Brad Pitt, on the other hand... ;-P.

ilima said...

Like Warm Bodies, WWZ was definitely a zombie movie for the masses and not zombie fans, I think. As one who cannot handle gore (and the Walking Dead), I enjoyed it. The action violence just at the peak of what I'm comfortable with. The story was pretty simplistic and straightforward, but I didn't mind. Reminded me of I Am Legend.

JJ said...

WWZ? I think I'll wait for the book to come out.

As for cloning, I find it fascinating. I love my life, and I would probably love it as well.

nutschell said...

Well I knew Mini-Alex was going to rock the concert. No surprise there. :) I heard WOrld War Z was good, but it had nothing in common with the original book. :D Btw, I don't know if I've passed my belt test yet. It always takes them forever to tell us. I think they like keeping us in suspense. haha.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

DL, they really need to hold back on the trailers.

Cassie, you'd win, because the two are nothing alike.

Jenelle, glad I could make you laugh.

Nancy, what if Pitt was a zombie?

Ilima, I'm guessing the original I Am Legend.

Nutschell, let us know when you find out!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I love the science behind cloning. Thank you for taking time to explain all this. How fascinating!

I think Mini-Alex can handle anything. I have faith in him :-)

Good advice - during a real zombie apocalypse, I will try to stay away from Brad Pitt, despite my helpless crush on the guy. Sigh.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Interesting posts today, Alex. I wrote four novels about the adventures of a clone grown from the tissue sample taken from the Spear of Destiny.

Through all four books, Blake is haunted by what that makes him and what is his ultimate fate.

Brad was only _____ if he chose the _____ from the left cabinet and then ______ himself. He took from both left and right.

In that movie, Brad was like Frodo with the Ring. Wherever he went bad things happened. And that wailing girl in Jerusalem ruined things for them actually.

I enjoyed WWZ and I would like to see the original ending they had filmed. Personally, I hated the General who lied to Brad.

Kimberlee Turley said...

My husband has been anxious to go see World War Z. I'm not a fan of the blood in Walking Dead, so you've actually given me a boost to go see it with him.

DMS said...

What a fascinating guest post. Books about cloning have always intrigued me. Great to meet Sandra!
~Jess

Medeia Sharif said...

I'd like to see that movie.

Of course mini-Alex would nail it.

DNA and cloning are fascinating.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, he's nothing but trouble!

Roland, I predict that in the original ending, Pitt died.

Kimberly, very gore free.

Melissa Bradley said...

Fascinating post! I love reading about genetics. Definitely will be checking out these books.

I'm dying to see World War Z, but it sounds like I will be a bit put off by the lack of gore. I do love the amount of gore in the Walking Dead.

I'd survive the zombie apocalypse (so it says in the quiz) so any one can "come with me if you want to live."

Gwen Gardner said...

Whoa, my head is spinning with all the DNA information! Thanks for the explanation, Sandra, and good luck with Twinned Universes.

Congrats to TF and Tyrean.

Hi Alex! I'm glad all went well with Mini-Alex's concert :)

Tonja said...

I'm tired of zombies. I admit to skimming the science article, but I suspect we won't know exactly how a clone will feel unless we are a clone...wait, maybe I am....

jamieayres.com said...

I feel so much smarter after reading this post! Happy for TF Walsh:-) And I still want to see World War Z--looking at Brad Pitt for 2hrs? Can't go wrong with that choice. I think he might be half zombie already . . . how has he not aged at all in the past 20 yrs?

Brandon Ax said...

Wow, that is actually really cool stuff, to think six feet after being stretched out o_o.

Rock out little Alex.

Hmm, I have held off seeing World War Z. I was still waiting to see what these things looked like. I may rent this one.

L.G. Keltner said...

Yay Mini Alex!

Elise Fallson said...

Last! :P

Glad I didn't miss this post. Great info about cloning and I wish Sandra all the best with her book, it sounds fascinating. And wow, Melissa! I didn't know you had to go through all that either. Hugs!

Congrats to TF Walsh and Tyrean!! :D
And Mini-Alex looks great!

Liz Fichera said...

Dang it. I missed Heather's blog hop. I've had to spend so much less time blogging this year.

WWZ? I'll wait for the DVD.

sachin thil said...

This kind of posts are always inspiring and i prefer to read quality content so i am happy to find out many point here in the post, writing is simply great, thanks for the post... by OPS 571 Final Exam material provider

randi lee said...

Veeeeery interesting insight on clones and doubles!! And thanks for the WWZ review...i was on the fence about seeing it or not, but if its entertainment for two hours, Ill go for it!!

The Happy Whisk said...

Pitt makes me a little sick, so I don't know if I can get past that or not.

I like how you have so many things going on in this post. Something for everyone.

Jai Joshi said...

Alex, great guest blogger!

Sandra, that was some fascinating stuff. I learned a lot and am looking forward to reading your book.

Jai