Cloning Your Dog: Would You Do It?

March 14, 2017 1 Comment



We have come a long way from Dolly, the sheep that became famous for being the first animal to be successfully cloned in 1996. Since then, many more animals have been cloned and advancements in the field have continued to be made. It's to the point now, that you can pay to have your beloved family pet cloned. The question is, would you do it? Below are some considerations to take. 

The Expectations

Many people believe that a cloned pet will be exactly like their beloved family dog that passed away. However, this is not the case. Yes, they will look like Fido, but they may not act like Fido. According to Dr. Jorge Piedrahita, a molecular biomedical professor at North Carolina State University, he states in article written by ScienceDaily, "The technology of cloning has been sold to the public as a way of creating a group of identical animals... The implication is that your cloned pet is going to behave and look like like the one you already have - and that will not be the case." Try to think of identical twins, they may come from the same egg, but can grow up to have vastly different personalities. Just make sure your aware before cloning your dog, that the one you get maybe different then one you had.  

The Cost

The expense of cloning your pet could be the biggest hurdle for the majority of pet owners. Prices will vary depending on the location and company, but one thing they all have in common is that cloning doesn't come cheap. Viagen Pets, a company that specializes in the cloning of pets, charges about $50,000 to get a genetic copy of your dog and about $25,000 for a cat. 

The Process

There are various steps to be taken in order to successfully clone your dog. Luckily, I did the research so you don't have to. The Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea are experts in animal cloning and they have a walkthrough of the entire cloning process. The first step is to collect a genetic sample from your dog. This is done through a biopsy procedure where a small piece of tissue is collected. It must be living tissue so it has to be taken while your dog is still alive or within five days of its death. The cells must be deemed as viable, a process that can take up to four weeks to confirm. Then an egg must be taken from a egg donor dog during ovulation. Next, a process called enucleation is performed where DNA from the donor egg is removed. After this, the donor cell is ejected into this egg which results in the two cells fusing together and violà, a cloned embryo is created. This embryo is then implanted into a surrogate mother and a puppy is born in about sixty days.

Decision time.  

Now that you have a better understanding of pet cloning. The decision is on whether or not to clone your beloved family pet is yours alone to make. It also helps to you happen to have a large sum of money laying around as well. Who needed a new car anyways?

1 Response

Audrey M
Audrey M

January 17, 2019

Never in a million years would I clone my pet. The reasoning is simple. A major downfall that they don’t mention in the article is that even IF the donor egg doesn’t reject the new DNA, even IF the implant into the surrogate takes and results in pregnancy (it doesn’t always, even in controlled ideal condition), and even IF the puppy is born healthy, unless you took the cells from a dog between 3mos and 1.5yrs, the dog is going to have a shorter life than the original. The reason for the decreased lifespan lies in the DNA itself. At the end of each single strand of DNA is a buffer zone, made up of molecules called telomeres. Telomeres are responsible for protecting the genetic code during cell reproduction. Every time a cell splits, the DNA inside if the nucleus replicates. Every time the DNA replicates, little bits are snipped off of the end of the strand by the very enzymes that replicate the chromosomes. Telomeres have a finite life in normal cells, and shorten as we age. Once telomeres run out, the DNA itself starts getting snipped. Why does this matter? Because once DNA is lost, cells can turn cancerous or develop other abnormal growths. Telomeres have a direct link to health and aging. The cloned puppy would have the same amount of telomere length as the original cells did. They would probably have the remaining lifespan of the original dog from the point the cells were taken, maybe a few years more if you’re lucky. You would be setting yourself up for heartbreak and a very expensive loss.

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