It's time to stop cloning around. If you've heard the unfounded claims that PCR tests are being used to clone humans, that makes at least two of you. Many people may have already seen the video accompanying the following Facebook post that makes such assertions about polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that are being used to test for the presence of the Covid-19 coronavirus:
As you can see, Facebook has labelled this video as "False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers." That's not because Facebook wants to suppress "free speech," as some may claim. There's already plenty of free speech on social media. Instead, Facebook fact-checkers presumably had a "clone" to pick with a number of the video's statements that are not consistent with science, evidence, and reality in general. For example, there was that claim that "PCR kits have never been about testing for Covid … they are cloning devices" and that "This has been admitted to by the NIH [National Institutes for Health]. It's on their website in a study entitled ‘molecular cloning polymerase chain reaction: an educational guide for cellular engineering'."
Umm, finding a 2015 publication in the Journal of Biological Engineering that's indexed on the PubMed website is not the same thing as listing something on the NIH website. Even though the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does run PubMed, it doesn't vouch for every publication that appears on PubMed.
Plus, if you actually read the publication from 2015, you'll find that it says nothing about PCR tests being used for human cloning. The publication is entitled "Molecular cloning using polymerase chain reaction, an educational guide for cellular engineering." Just because you use the word "cloning" doesn't mean that you are referring to the cloning of copying of humans. That would be like assuming that every time you use the word "hot" you are actually referring to "hot dogs." This would bring new meaning to when tell your significant other that he or she is hot.
The word "clone" means "to produce a copy or imitation of," according to Dictionary.com . This word alone does not specify what you may be copying. For example, if you create a clone of an ice cream sundae and enjoy it while sitting in the bathtub while hiding from your roommate, you not producing a copy of yourself. A PCR test does make use of laboratory technique called a polymerase chain reaction that can produce billions of copies of a particular genetic fragment. PCRs can be helpful in amplifying the amount of viral genetic material in a sample when only small amounts of the virus are present. Let's say a healthcare worker gets a sample of fluid for Covid-19 testing from the back of your nasopharyngeal area or throat with a cotton swab in a way that makes it feel like your brain is being probed (when they actually are not.) This sample may not have enough of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) for its RNA to be readily detectable. Therefore, when the sample reaches a lab, the lab workers can add a reagant to the sample to cause a chain reaction. This chain reaction can then produce billions of copies of the virus's genetic material, allowing the material to be more detectable and analyzable.
So, no, when health care workers are testing you for Covid-19, they are not securing your genetic material to make clones of you. If you are worried about anyone getting samples of any of your genetic material, then maybe you should wrap yourself in bubble wrap and not touch anything ever. Chances are that you're leaving your DNA over anything that you frequently touch such as your pens, your keys, your Taylor Swift coffee mug, that BDSM spiked collar that you claim is your apartment-mate's but is really yours, and that copy of 50 Shades of Grey that you deny owning. You are certainly sending your genetic material to companies that do genetic testing for you. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that those companies are creating clones of you in their laboratories. Yeah, it's highly unlikely that the name "23 and Me" refers to the number of clones of you that they have running around.
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