Thursday, August 04, 2005
Puppy CloneI read in the Chronicle today that researchers cloned a dog. Considerable time and resources went into creating the puppy clone: the article said that scientists transferred 1,095 embryos into 123 surrogate dogs and got 1 pup. There's also a local company (that probably has a good sense of humor) called Genetic Savings & Clone that will clone pets for owners at the modest fee of $32,000. They, unsurprisingly, herald this advance as a validation of their whole business.
I'm impressed with the puppy clone from a scientific "how did they do that?" perspective and hopefully, this advance might help us learn more about diseases that affect dogs (and people), which was the stated purpose of the cloning project.
From an animal welfare worker perspective, though, I am less impressed. Genetic Savings & Clone has clients already lining up for dog clones, despite the large populations of homeless animals that already exist. They funded the first successful kitten cloning project in 2002 and currently clone cats and kittens. Right now, we're at the height of kitten season when shelters are overrun with hundreds and hundreds of kittens and don't have foster homes for all of them.
I predictably urge you to adopt from your local shelter! Our dogs and cats are nobody's clone, but unique and quirky individuals. Our adoption fees are considerably less than cloning costs and you'd be creating a new home for a dog, instead of creating a new dog for a research facility!