Bokanovsky's Process

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Bokanovsky's Process is a fictional process of human cloning that is a key aspect of the world envisioned in Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World.

The process is applied to fertilized human eggs in vitro, causing them to split into identical genetic copies of the original. The process can be repeated several times, though the maximum number of viable embryos possible is 96, with 72 being a "good average".[1]


This example of Ectogenesis is explained in detail in the first chapter of the book. The process is not applied to embryos of the Alpha and Beta classes of humans. It is reserved for the Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon classes.[2]

One egg, one embryo, one adult - normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.[2]

In the highly controlled social world, the ability for the government to control the number of humans is important, as is the ability to control the function of those humans.[3]

Bokanovsky's Process, combined with Podsnap's Technique for speeding up the maturation of unfertilized eggs from an ovary, is used to produce massive numbers of a genetic group: "Fertilize and bokanovskify ... and you get an average of nearly eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred and fifty batches of identical twins, all within two years of the same age."[4]

The record number of twins from a single ovary at the London Hatchery is 16,012 in 189 batches. Centers in tropical climates can get better numbers: Singapore created over 16,500, and Mombasa has touched 17,000.[5]

Bokanovsky Groups usually work together doing a single task, and by manipulating the in vitro chemicals, various subclasses can be created from a Bokanovsky Group.

"Each process," explained the Human Element Manager, "is carried out, so far as possible, by a single Bokanovsky Group."

And, in effect, eighty-three almost noseless black brachycephalic Deltas were cold-pressing. The fifty-six four-spindle chucking and turning machines were being manipulated by fifty-six aquiline and ginger Gammas. One hundred and seven heat-conditioned Epsilon Senegalese were working in the foundry. Thirty-three Delta females, long-headed, sandy, with narrow pelvises, and all within 20 millimetres of 1 metre 69 centimetres tall, were cutting screws. In the assembling room, the dynamos were being put together by two sets of Gamma-Plus dwarfs. The two low work-tables faced one another; between them crawled the conveyor with its load of separate parts; forty-seven blonde heads were confronted by forty-seven brown ones. Forty-seven snubs by forty-seven hooks; forty-seven receding by forty-seven prognathous chins. The completed mechanisms were inspected by eighteen identical curly auburn girls in Gamma green, packed in crates by thirty-four short-legged, left-handed male Delta-Minuses, and loaded into waiting trucks and lorries by sixty-three blue-eyed, flaxen and freckled Epsilon Semi-Morons.[6]

It is thought that the process's name is a reference to Maurice Bokanowski, a French Bureaucrat who believed strongly in the idea of governmental and social efficiency.[7]


  1. ^ Huxley, Aldous; "Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited"; p. 19; HarperPerennial, 2005.
  2. ^ a b Huxley, p. 17.
  3. ^ Huxley, p. 18.
  4. ^ Huxley, p. 19.
  5. ^ Huxley, p. 20.
  6. ^ Huxley, p. 147.
  7. ^


  • Bokanovsky's Process "The principle of mass production at last applied to biology." Lecture 19, History 135E, (Instructor: Dr. Barbara J. Becker), Spinning the Web of Ingenuity, An Introduction to the History of Technology, Winter Quarter, 2004, Department of History, University of California, Irvine
  • Bokanovsky's Process, A very early description of cloning,
  • Cloning in Brave New World,