Like Frankenstein, With Cows: Cloned Animal Reportedly Attacks Its Creator

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 26 2013 2:43 PM

Like Frankenstein, With Cows: Cloned Animal Reportedly Attacks Its Creator

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A cloned cow—but not the one that reportedly attacked Park Se-pill

Photo by ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

In an event ripped straight of the gothic horror novel Frankenstein, a renowned embryologist was reportedly attacked by one of his cloned creations recently. The beast in this case, though, wasn’t a monster pieced together from the bodies of other animals—no, it was an 800-kilogram, black cow.

“Prof. Park Se-pill at Jeju National University had five of his ribs broken and injured his spine in the Sept. 15 attack,” reports the Korea Times. “Park was video-recording a black cow, which he cloned from species indigenous to Jeju four years ago, and all of a sudden, it charged and attacked him for 15 minutes,” a school official said. The embryologist will need eight weeks of medical treatment for his injuries.

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The bovine made headlines in 2009 when Park successfully cloned it using a frozen cell taken from a deceased animal. This means the black cow is, in a sense, a “revival” of the cow that the cell was harvested from. Like a phoenix reborn after it dies—but rather than emerging from ashes, the cow originated from a test-tube.

While Park’s incident is unfortunate, it’s hard not to think of the real life allusions between the attack and Frankenstein. Perhaps if the cow could talk it would have quoted a famous line from the novel in which the monster exclaims to Dr. Frankenstein: “You are my creator, but I am your master—obey!”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Jathan Sadowski is a graduate student studying applied ethics and the human and social dimensions of science and technology at Arizona State University.

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