Should You Have Your Pet Cloned?
Thu, April 22, 2021

Should You Have Your Pet Cloned?

Cloning became known to the world when the first mammal was cloned. Dolly the sheep was a female domestic sheep and was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell in 1996 / Photo by: vchal via Shutterstock

 

Cloning became known to the world when the first mammal was cloned. Dolly the sheep was a female domestic sheep and was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell in 1996. However, according to Gizmodo, an online informational platform on science and technology, the first living being to be cloned was a sea urchin in 1885. This was a scientific study in relation not only to revolutionary cloning but also to the theory of cell biology. In 1902, Biologist Han Spemann even experimented on dividing salamander cells. With the long history of cloning and developing technologies to implement the process, cloning is now advanced enough that be offered as a service to the public, specifically to clone their pets. Today, only a handful of commercial companies and institutions are able to execute this, and they are located in South Korea, the United States, and China.

 

Facts About Cloning

The purpose of cloning is to create a genetically identical twin born at a later date. In order to clone the animal or pet, tissue needs to be taken from the pet through a skin biopsy sample. With this and the growing interest in genetic preservation among pet owners, there are people who opt for genetic preservation at this step. But for cloning, cells are transferred into a donor animal’s oocyte, a cell in an ovary, with DNA replaced by those taken from the preferred pet. After the gestation period, the surrogate will give birth to the baby animal that is a clone of the original pet.

Typically, it costs $50,000 to clone dogs, $25,000 to clone cats, and $85,000 to clone horses. With genetic preservation, it costs $1,600 with an annual storage fee of around $150 per month, as stated by the American Veterinarian, a website that provides news and expert commentary on research to improve patient outcomes and positively impact the way veterinarians practice.

The purpose of cloning is to create a genetically identical twin born at a later date. In order to clone the animal or pet, tissue needs to be taken from the pet through a skin biopsy sample / Photo by: peterschreiber.media via Shutterstock

 

Reasons for Cloning

Essentially, cloning allows a pet to be reborn once the original passes away. According to Dr. Kerry Ryan, DVM animal care director for ViaGen Pets (cloning institution in the US), the human and animal bond is so strong that our pets end up as part of the family, with most families hoping their pets would live and stay around longer than normal. Ryan added that clients who seek the cloning solution are typically from higher social status and understand that cloning will not produce the same exact replica of the original pet in every way. Even the military has made use of cloning to get the best breed of dogs for training. For instance, among litters of dogs where a specific one came out as the best in the bunch, it was then cloned and nine puppies were the result and they found that these were training faster and harder, with developed capabilities even at nine months old compared to the standard 18 months.

Among the most notable figures that have cloned pets included Barbra Streisand, who successfully had her dog cloned twice. 

 

Misconceptions About Animal Cloning

Cloned animals are never exactly the same as the original even though they have the same DNA and the same potential for both good and bad health. People assume that since a cloned animal is a genetic identical twin of the original, the two will look exactly the same. However, just like identical twins, there will always be small differences. Looking at functionality, cloned pets should be able to function as they normally would, biologically, which means they will be able to reproduce and age. In terms of personality and behavior, these are only determined by a combination of factors, with no guarantee that they’ll be exactly the same as the original.

Preference plays a key role in the cloning of pets—whether or not a pet owner is willing to accept a pet that is only biologically similar, looks similar, and functions similarly. That the clone, made for the purpose to replace and imitate a previous pet, cannot be exactly the same as the previous pet.

Vanity Fair, a monthly magazine of popular culture, fashion, and current affairs, reported that ethicists from the White House to the Vatican have debated the morality of cloning. Taking a dozen or more embryos to produce a single dog, using the same process that can be done on a human, may produce concerns that cloning an animal is just the first step and that eventually, cloning will also be done on people, which raises the moral question of on whose authority and responsibility the life and death of an embryo lie.

If the sole reason for cloning an animal is to get the exact same animal after its death, this will never happen. A similar animal of the same breed is the usual and more normal alternative. But of course, when money talks, everyone listens.

Cloned animals are never exactly the same as the original even though they have the same DNA and the same potential for both good and bad health / Photo by: Jason Benz Bennee via Shutterstock