Cloning international law: The science and science fiction of human cloning and stem-cell patenting

Shai Lavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The article offers a critical appraisal of the rise of international governance in the field of genetics and reproductive technologies as “legal cloning.” It critically explores two of the dominant approaches to the homogenization of international law: the instrumentalist approach promoted by legal realists (law and science) and the deterministic approach advanced by legal surrealists (law and science fiction). As an alternative to both, the article offers an account of bio-technology’s modus operandi, and its power to “clone,” namely, to reduce human diversity – whether genetic, moral, or legal – not to identity but to a controlled and standardized uniformity. By examining three case studies of international law and transnational law – the UN declaration on human cloning, the recent restriction of the patenting of human embryonic stem cell research by the CJEU – along with Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World, the article unveils three different ways in which cloning operates in international law: international law versus cloning, international law as cloning, and the cloning of international law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Bioethics
  • Biotechnology
  • Cloning
  • Human genome
  • International law
  • Law and technology
  • Science fiction
  • Stem cell patenting
  • Stem cell research
  • Transnational law


Dive into the research topics of 'Cloning international law: The science and science fiction of human cloning and stem-cell patenting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this