A British couple spent $100,000 to clone their beloved family pet, and the cloned puppy was born happy and healthy the day after Christmas, The Guardian reported.
Laura Jacques and Richard Remde of West Yorkshire, England, were distraught last June when their beloved boxer, Dylan, died of a brain tumor at 8-years-old. Fortunately, the couple had £67,000 (just under $100,000) at their disposal, which happened to be the amount it costs to clone a dead pet at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea.
On their website, the company proudly advertises its dog-cloning services.
“Sooam Biotech Research Foundation is able to prolong the companionship with your dog by bringing back the memories you have with your friend. Cloning technology is possible at Sooam for any dog no matter its age, size, and breed. Sooam not only performs dog cloning research, but we also heal the broken hearts.”
In fact, Sooam has performed over 700 successful dog cloning procedures. The process involves injecting the DNA of the dog to be cloned into a “blank” female dog egg, from which the nucleus has been removed. The cloned puppy is “conceived” through artificial insemination and then, at a certain point, is injected into a surrogate mother, who later gives birth.
Sooam is the only laboratory that clones pets commercially. Currently, says The Guardian, there are no regulations on the cloning of pets, although the European Union parliament did vote earlier this year to outlaw the cloning of farm animals. Human cloning is also illegal.
Laura and Richard flew to Seoul and, armed with a DNA sample from Dylan (it’s not clear, as of this writing, where or how the DNA sample was obtained), hired the company to clone a new puppy from Dylan’s DNA. The cloning procedure began two weeks after Dylan died, which is in some ways remarkable in itself as the previous limit was five days after the animal’s death.
— Dylan Dog (@WeLovedDylan) December 26, 2015
The new cloned puppy was born, appropriately enough, on Boxing Day (December 26), and his loving parents named him “Chance,” after a character in Laura’s favorite Disney movie, Homeward Bound. A second cloned puppy, Shadow, was born on Sunday from the same surrogate mother.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 27, 2015
Because cloning involves only one parent, Chance is technically a genetic copy of Dylan. In fact, says Laura, Chance looks exactly like the dog from which he was cloned.
“Even as a puppy of just a few minutes old I can’t believe how much he looks like Dylan. All the colourings and patterns on his body are in exactly the same places as Dylan had them.”
Although the Yorkshire couple are overjoyed with their new cloned puppy, not everyone is on board with animal cloning. A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believes that cloned animals are sickly and have a short life span.
“[There is] a body of evidence that cloned animals frequently suffer physical ailments such as tumours, pneumonia and abnormal growth patterns.”
Ethical concerns aside, Laura and Richard are so thrilled with their new cloned puppies that, once the dogs have cleared quarantine and can be legally allowed into England, the couple plans to bring back not only the two cloned puppies but also their surrogate mothers.
Would you pay $100,000 to clone a family pet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.