According to state-run news agency Xinhua, China has successfully cloned a Kunming wolfdog (similar to a German Shepherd) using the skin cells of a seven-year-old female named Huahuangma, a working police dog.
Barbra Streisand recently announced in a Variety interview that she had cloned her Coton de Tulear Samantha by removing some skin from her tummy and some DNA from her cheek just before Sammie died. The result was four puppies, one of whom died, and one who was given away to a close friend.
Streisand now shares her life with Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, as well as an unrelated dog named Miss Fanny. She says, You can clone the look of a dog, but you can’t clone the soul. Still, every time I look at their faces, I think of my Samantha…and smile.
Not everyone thinks cloning is ethical. Some say it messes with what should only be the purview of God. What say you?
What do you think, readers? I know many people are vehemently opposed to cloning, but I wonder if it’s situational or absolute. What if the clonee is a hero? Here’s the scoop, according to the NY Daily News.
A recent story in the International Herald-Tribune notes that Bernann McKinney, the first commercial dog cloning client, is the same woman who, in the 1970’s jumped bail after kidnapping a Mormon missionary and making him her sex slave.The cloning company, RNL Bio, has no problem with this, and does not plan to do any background checks on future clients.
How much would you pay for an exact replica (at least physically) of your beloved pet? RNL Bio of Seoul, South Korea hopes to clone dogs commercially at a fee of $150,000 each. It’s first commercial clones, from a Pit Bull named Booger, were born recently, to the delight of Bernann McKinney.
The original Booger saved McKinney from an attack by another dog, then became an assistance dog during McKinney’s recovery. This remarkable dog passed in 2006, but McKinney now has five exact dupicates, thanks to the cloning process developed by Lee Byeong-Chun.
Here’s how it works: skin cells from the original dog provide the DNA, which is combined into an egg cell from another dog. Before combining, the nucleus of the egg is removed to eliminate the donor’s DNA from “contaminating” the clone. The cell begins to divide in a petri dish, then is implanted into a surrogate mother to be carried for about two months until they are born.
The company hopes to attract as many as 300 canine customers per year, and hopes to branch out into camel cloning for Middle Eastern customers.
McKinney, as the first commercial customer, got a real deal on the process, paying just $50,000. No word on how much of that went to the surrogate.
(Picture of James Symington & Trakr from the NY Times.)
Whether or not you think dog cloning is a good idea, this is kind of a neat story. Remember the contest run by BioArts International, a biotech company in Northern California? They offered to clone dogs for free for the highest auction bidders, but they also ran an essay contest to pick one of the dogs for free cloning. Have you heard who won?
Park Chen-Kyong, AFP, via Discovery News at on the Discovery Channel reports that a Japanese center which says it has trained a dog to sniff out human cancer cells is cloning the animal in South Korea, a Seoul-based biotechnology company and the dog’s owner said Wednesday.
Your thoughts? Is this good? Is this dangerous? Are the risks worth the potential benefits? Are there important moral issues here? Please post you comments and let us all know what you think.