Robert Lamb, HowStuffWorks: Our genes provide a partial blueprint for who we are. Should we save the genes of great scholars, artists, leaders and athletes for future cloning?
Fictional characters have a habit of popping up again after unpopular deaths. From comic book superheroes to sultry soap opera stars, you just can’t keep a good hero down. Leaf through history books and you’ll find any number of legendary kings and saviors slated for an eventual return as well.
But what if death weren’t the end in real life, too? What if we could bring back some of the world’s most extraordinary figures? Could Albert Einstein help us to solve the energy crisis? What kind of album could Ludwig van Beethoven produce in a modern recording studio?
While such notions were previously the domain of fantasy and mysticism, modern science has finally reached the point where such tales of resurrection might have a real-world counterpart: human gene banks. After all, much of who we are boils down to our genes. These little tidbits of information are located on strands of DNA in every cell in the human body. This means that if you had a sample of Einstein’s DNA, you’d essentially have a biological blueprint for his brain.