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Your dog is unique, truly your best friend and “irreplaceable”. Perhaps not. If you have the money and the desire, cloning your dog is possible. Here’s how…


May 2018

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives


I love my cats as much as any dog owner and to be honest, I’ve thought about cloning my old girl. I did a little research. Yes, they clone cats, at about half the cost of cloning a dog!


Lunching with a dear friend, we talked about it. She has a weird sense of humor. “Just think Stella, what if we could only keep one pet?” I raised an eyebrow. Sipping her coke she smiled up at me, “Then they could clone a dog and cat together…” I didn’t laugh.


You know about Dolly the sheep that was successfully cloned. As the inevitable loss of your beloved dog draws near you wonder… Is cloning your dog possible? What would it cost? Is it somehow “wrong”


CheMyong Jay Ko, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is credited with being the first veterinarian to clone a dog. As reported in the Smithsonian magazine, he had been interested in cloning for over 20 years. When a colleague called with the awful news that his dog had just been run over and desperately asked if he could be cloned, Dr. Ko leaped into action.


The tissue cells begin to degrade quickly after death but they were able to take skin cells from the dog’s body and repeat history in 2015. This was not the first successful cloning of canine tissue. In fact, that happened in in 2005 when Korean scientists produced two living Afghan puppies, one of which lived for ten years. Dr. Ko was an advisor on that team so he was imminently qualified.


Curious, not that I would... I learned that in addition to Korean companies that do animal cloning today, Viagen in the U.S. offers cloning for pets. It isn’t cheap (about $50,000) but to Barbara Streisand that was little enough to pay for the successful cloning of her Coton de Tulear. Since then hundreds of dogs and cats have been successfully cloned as have other species such as frogs, goats, etc.


Over 500 pigs were successfully cloned by BGI in China.  Pig organs are compatible with humans… To save someone's life is OK but cloning our pets seems more about self to me.


Stroking my kitten, I learned the cloning process begins with harvesting eggs from the fallopian tubes of a donor dog. The nucleus is then removed from the egg and cells taken from the to-be-cloned dog are injected into the transformed donor egg. Electric stimulation then makes the cells divide repeatedly (as an egg would do normally to produce an embryo) and the “manufactured” egg is then implanted into the surrogate mother dog.


The problem with this whole procedure as seen from my perspective is that the surrogate females must be “housed” or kenneled, in order to be used for collection and maturation of eggs. That is the behind-the-scenes part that we don’t think about. Laboratory animals of all species, from mice to pet species, become just “cells”.


I’m sure they receive the best medical care. And OK, they could be sitting in a shelter facing death but it still seems like premeditated slavery of “Man’s Best Friend” and mankind's Oldest Friend. Some would argue it is no different than raising cattle or pigs for slaughter. They feed a hungry nation. I read somewhere that pigs are as intelligent as dogs…


So is the growing business of cloning dogs for research or for wealthy buyers any different? Dogs are proving to be “man’s best friend” as service dogs, guide dogs, military and guard dogs. Dogs herd our animals, protect our property, fetch our slippers, and heal our hearts and psyche. You would have to ask your dog… would he give his cells, or even his life, to protect your life? You know the answer. EST 2002 © 1804



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