The people cloning their pets –

"People ask me, 'Why is it so expensive?' and I tell them because there are so many complicated steps involved in the whole process," says Rodriguez. "It's definitely an emotional reason for pet clients. They want to be able to carry on that strong emotional bond that they have with the pet."

The industry has since expanded elsewhere in the globe. Sooam Biotech in South Korea offer dog cloning services, as well as Sinogene in China.

However, many scientists remain uncomfortable about the whole premise. Lovell-Badge argues that there is "no justification" for pet cloning as while the resulting animals will be genetically identical, they will not have the same behavioural characteristics and personalities as all creatures are a product of both genes and their environment.

"People really want their pet that knows them and knows certain tricks and so forth," says George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. "In that sense, it's a little bit taking advantage of people's grief."

Reviving extinct species

In the years that followed Dolly's cloning, the central question was whether scientists would ever extend the technology to humans, and the many moral and ethical issues that would invoke.

But while a human embryo was successfully cloned in 2013, the process of creating an entire human being has never been attempted because of the likely public outcry. Chinese scientists did clone the first primates in January 2018, long-tailed macques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, but there are currently no suggestions that this work will continue into further primate species.

Instead, most funding is being devoted to using cloning to resurrect animals on the verge of extinction. Efforts are underway to clone both the giant panda and the northern white rhino a species for which there are just two animals left on the planet while in the last two years, ViaGen have cloned the black footed ferret and Przewalski's horse, both of which are endangered.

Church is leading the most ambitious project, a quest to revive the woolly mammoth, a species that last lived some 4,000 years ago. His de-extinction company Colossal has already raised 11m ($14.5m) in funding to support the idea, which will involve creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid through taking skin cells from Asian elephants and using cloning technology to reprogram them with mammoth DNA.

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