Today, we talk about extending the life of our pets, through cloning. While this procedure doesn't bring back the original pet, it does come fairly close to the physical make-up of our dogs and cats. Over the last few decades, the science of cloning has progressed, and today I researched some of its highlights.
History of Cloning Animals
Dolly, the well-publicized sheep was the first mammal to be cloned. In 1996, she was the first example of the successful cloning of an animal from an adult cell. Scientists conducted a nuclear transfer where the embryo of Dolly was implanted into a surrogate ewe.
After Dolly, it took another decade before a dog was successfully cloned. Snuppy, an Afghan was the first cloned dog. He was born in 2005 in South Korea at Seoul National University.
Since then, there have been approximately 600 dogs cloned, and in 2016, the first dog cloned on American soil was a Jack Russell Terrier named Nubia.
Barbra Streisand cloned her dog, Coton du Tulear in 2017 to produce two pups, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlet, who often appear on her Instagram page.
Streisand is not the only celebrity to have their dogs cloned. Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg also cloned their Jack Russell Terrier several years ago.
The Price Tag
The Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea charged approximately $100,00 for a dog in 2015. Since then, ViaGen has cut that price in half to $500,000 for a dog and $25,000 for a cat.
ViaGen also offers genetic preservation for $1,600, which will store a pet’s genetic information, so pet owners can decide on cloning at a future date.
Who Cloning Works
The harvesting of cells from a dog or cat can be done during a pet's life or after it has died [as long as the cells collected were within five days or less.]
Send in the Clones
While the genes may be identical, there are often variations. Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine notes that the resulting animal will exhibit a different personality from the original pet.
“They have different personalities,” Streisand told Variety, regarding her cloned dogs. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her [the original pet's] brown eyes and seriousness.”
Primary Source: Variety