Leading article: Live forever

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The Independent Online

It Is the thing every meglomaniac has dreamed of and every sane person has feared.

Japanese scientists claim to have successfully cloned mice from frozen bodies decades old. One small step for a rodent but one giant step for woolly mammoths and endangered species, if, as the team seems to be claiming, they are next in line for treatment. But you don't have to have seen Jurassic Park to know where this is heading.

Ivory poachers will be in seventh heaven, other mammals – including our own puny species – may well be rather less enthusiastic. But it is not animal monsters we should really concern ourselves with, rather human ones. The first Chinese emperor killed tens of thousands in his search for eternal life and may indeed lie in a bed of ice in his unopened tomb. At this very moment, Robert Mugabe may be planning his own cryogenic destiny, so could Kim Jong-il.

Only the good die young. The bad will now be intending to reproduce themselves forever.