> Clones do have unique health problems, just not the ones that dominated headlines about Dolly. Clones are less likely to make it to term in pregnancy, and when they are born, they are more likely to be a little maladjusted. “You have to baby them—give them oxygen, give them glucose until they normalize,” says George Seidel, who studies animal-reproduction technologies at Colorado State University. The clones that make it to adulthood are generally pretty normal.
"In 1999, scientists published data suggesting Dolly’s telomeres were too short for her age. Since then, scientists have cloned a whole menagerie of animals: mice, horses, cattle, pigs, dogs, and so on. Studies of their telomere lengths have turned up every possible result: Clones have shorter telomeres, clones have longer telomeres, and clones have normal telomeres—depending on the species or cloning technique."
This seems to suggest that telomeres might be much less connected with aging than initially believed by some researchers.
Which isn't to say that mutations don't play a large role in other cells. The average child has at least one mutation but usually they don't do much. Well, doesn't do much or means the zygote is totally nonviable and so never results in a pregnancy. Having children when you're older will tend to increase the number of mutation, especially for men where their gametes are produced throughout their lives. A cell from, say, someone's skin will tend to have even more mutations but that's a quantitative thing rather than a qualitative one.
Do you have a source for this? How would a neuron with a mutation be any different from the outside in terms of its axons?
No, I think cell differentiation is a completely different topic -- gene expression/inhibition and cell specialization has nothing to do with random errors to DNA, as far as I understand. So the problem is not actually solved at all. Especially since we are not usually trying to clone babies, whose stem cells would have incurred less damage.