Cloning mammals was highly inefficient in the 20th Century. It wasn’t until 1996 when the case of Dolly the sheep received world-wide notoriety that the technology made a major leap forward. It was then it became possible to use the DNA of one animal to create another. Over the last three decades, cloning has been successfully conducted on cows, pigs, horses, goats and deer.
Less known is the cloning of pet dogs, as well as the pet owners rationale for making such a decision.
The First Cloning of a Dog
Snuppy, the first successfully cloned dog, is shown below at 67 days. It was Tai, the three-year-old Afghan hound whose skin cells were used to clone him.
Born on April 24, 2005, Seoul National University is raising Snuppy in an ongoing research case to study the effects of cloning on canines.
One of the concerns of cloning is whether or not it accelerates the aging process. Dolly died at six, after developing a lung disease. That is about half the 'lifespan' age of a normal sheep.
To date, there is nothing conclusive about the cloning affects on dogs. The average lifespan of dogs is between seven and 15 years. For Afghan hounds, the median age is 11.9 years. Tai, the dog that Snuppy was cloned from, lived until she was 12. Snuppy died at the age of 10 while undergoing treatment for cancer.
“With the data from Tai and Snuppy in hand, we are excited to follow the long-term health and aging processes of these second generation of clones and work with them to contribute to a new era of studying longevity of cloned canines and given the history of both Tai and Snuppy they may also provide potential insights into the development of cancer,” noted the Seoul research team.
The Dog Cloning Process
Once cultured, the cryo-preserved cells are stored in liquid nitrogen while owners decide when they would like to move forward on the cloning. They have up to 50 years to make that decision.
After they give the green-light, they make a fifty-percent deposit on the procedure cost of $50,000. Numerous embryos are then implanted into a surrogate animal housed at a secure facility. The cloned puppies remain under care until they are 8 to 12 weeks old. Veterinarians inspect the clones regularly for health issues before they are picked up by their owners. The remainder of the fee is due upon delivery.
Orphan Black Considerations
For those familiar with the acclaimed BBC TV drama, Orphan Black, you are knowledgeable that more than one clone can be duplicated from the cells of one parent. This means you can produce multiple versions of your dog if you like.
However while the look of these cloned dogs will appear almost identical, there is no guarantee on the temperament or personality of these cloned dogs. You may want to clone your dog because you want to duplicate certain character traits. However, easy-going dogs don’t necessarily produce that same behavior. While those traits may appear due to the breeds' known characteristics, ultimately the cloned versions would have to had had that same life experience for that personality or temperament to reappear.
So readers, would you consider cloning your dogs when they enter their senior years? Is it worth the $50,000 investment? Or the bigger question, should man play God? Would it better to abide by nature and simply choose additional litter mates from a certain breeder?
Comment below and weigh in with your views pertaining to this scientific break-through.
Primary Source: Cloning Dogs