There has been a lot of talk lately about dog cloning. If you had 50,000 dollars, would you clone your favorite dog? It isn't just a hypothetical questions anymore. As of today, it is estimated there are over 200 genetically engineered pets throughout the world. Animal cloning has been going on for over 2 decades. In the recent years the technology has become so far advanced that they are now offering dog cloning to the general public.
When I say general public , of course I am referring to the group of people who can afford to spend 50,000 or more to clone their pet. So the question remains if you could, would you?
In 1998, Lou Hawthorne, the forefather of cloning preserved the DNA of his mothers pet dog Missy. Thus begun the "Missyplicity" project. A break through came 5 years after Missy's death in 2002. Missy's DNA was implanted into an embryo and given to a surrogate.
Along came Mira,the worlds first cloned pet dog in 2007. She is Husky, Border Collie and Rottweiler mix. The first clone sheep " Dolly the Sheep" was cloned all the way back in 1996. Mira was in looks and temperament almost a 100% match to her DNA mother Missy. Lou created 4 more clones of Missy. Almost all clones looked identical with very small variations in markings.
Personality is a learned trait, dogs just like us develop their personality from experience. So if you raise your clone in the same environment as your original, they are said to exhibit very similar personalities.
Another well known success story was that of Trakr. Trakr was a 9/11 search and rescue German Shepard. He located the last survivor at ground zero. Lou and his team cloned 5 pups off Trakr. Lou success was astounding but not at a price anyone could ever afford.
Lou had an arrangement with a laboratory in S. Korea that performed is actual cloning. He felt disheartened by the method they took to create the clones. Lou closed the doors to his BioARTS, pet cloning business in 2009.
The lab he worked with, Sooam Biotech in Korea is currently offering cloned dogs directly to the public. Coming in at a cost of as little as $30,000, but commonly right about $50,000. How can they afford to do something so technologically advanced at this cost?
Seems to good to be true? Well it is, what they fail to mention, is that for every one clone created, up to 80 dogs are killed in the process. The dogs are used as egg donors or surrogates from big farms where they are raised to be eaten by humans. Whether the dogs are used or not in the cloning process, they are later slaughtered for meat or put down.
Pet cloning has become such a popular topic there was actually a reality show on TLC called "I Cloned My Pet" ,following the lives of several people who cloned their pets.
The ethical nature behind telling someone they are getting an exact replica of their dogs is false. The dog will be very similar, like an offspring, but keep in mind variations of markings, and personality can vary from environmental factors as noted above. The DNA is placed in a surrogate dog until they reach term, or are delivered, so while the DNA remains that of the original, external traits can be influenced such as waviness of fur or ear position.
With the amount of animals in shelters people are urged to fall in love all over again and rescue a loving pet, rather then spend a small fortune to recreate a lost love which may not meet all your high expectations.