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A company in Sausalito, California have launched a new service offering to clone your cat.
Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc (financed by billionaire John Sperling, the Arizona entrepreneur who launched the for-profit University of Phoenix) successfully cloned their first cat in February 2002, a calico called CC, short for carbon copy
They made their first offering to the public in February 2004 and confirmed in December of the same year that they had successfully completed the work for their first client.
Sold, to the Texan in the back row
Their first customer is a woman in Texas, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted by anti-cloning groups. She apparently paid $50,000 for the new cloned cat, Little Nicky, who is to replace Nicky, a 17-year-old Maine Coone who died in September 2004.
Health concerns and ethical issues seem to be part and parcel of the whole issue of cloning, but the company report that their methods have largely resolved any health risks and offer a money back guarantee.
So far, the company report, Little Nicky is in good health and her new owner is very happy.
Misconceptions about clones
Misconceptions about what a clone is seem to be rife. According to the company many people believe a clone is an exact copy with memories, behaviours and all other aspects identical to the original. Many also think clones are 'made' fully-grown.
In fact the clone is an entirely new animal, born as an infant and growing at the normal rate. It is genetically identical, so there may well be some strong similarities in behavioural tendencies or markings, but there may not, and there definitely will not be any shared memories.
The company says that some breeds seem to have more likelihood of similarity in these factors, but that is as specific as they can be.
The Future of Pet Cloning
"In general our feeling about how people obtain a cat is that it should be a matter of their choice," said Joan Miller, a board director for The Cat Fanciers' Association, based in Manasquan, New Jersey,
Conversely, Derek Conway, Chief Executive of Cats Protection, said: "The cloning of cats interferes with nature and raises serious questions concerning whether a pet can ever be truly replaced."
Governmental comment has been ominous by its absence, with barely a mention from most politicians, although the general cloning debate rages on.
The company continues to develop their processes for cloning cats and is now developing the technology for cloning dogs. Although nothing concrete has been announced they have said they "wouldn't be surprised" if their first cloned dog appeared some time in 2005.
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