A woman cloned her dead pet. But it is not a copycat
Upon the death of her beloved pet, a woman decided to clone it. However, it’s not a rip-off.
Chai, Kelly Anderson’s cat, passed away in 2017. After spending approximately $25,000 and four years, Anderson now has Belle, a 5-month-old carbon replica of Chai.
Chai’s death was a sort of odd accident after she ingested a piece of wrapper that became caught in her intestines.
When the beloved 5-year-old cat passed away in 2017, her owner Kelly Anderson believed there was nothing she could do.
Chai’s body had not yet become cold when Anderson recalled a chat she had with her roommate about Texas-based ViaGen Pets, one of just a handful of pet-cloning companies in the globe. The following morning, she phoned them.
Five years and $25,000 later, Anderson, a 32-year-old dog trainer from Austin, is cuddling a 6-month-old carbon clone of Chai.
Belle and Chai are practically identical, even down to their deep-blue eyes and white fur.
The two cats have a few peculiarities, such as sleeping with their bodies extended against Anderson’s back. Anderson stated that the parallels cease there.
Despite sharing the same genetic material, clones are not the same animal, as they lack the memories and experiences that made the original creatures such beloved pets. It’s similar to resetting a phone: the model and technology are identical, but all the data has been erased.
Anderson is among an increasing number of individuals who pay a modest fortune to clone their pets, more than 25 years after the infamous Dolly the sheep case.
However, while scientific progress has enabled the technique to become more lucrative, the procedure itself presents ethical concerns, according to experts.
Professor CheMyong “Jay” Ko of the comparative biosciences department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stated that cloning is a reasonably straightforward process.
It begins with a few cells extracted from the animal’s tissue, typically from the ear or belly.
The cells are then placed in a solution of enzymes to extract the DNA in a laboratory. Next, scientists collect an unfertilized egg from a different animal donor.
The egg’s nucleus is then extracted with a “teeny, tiny needle” and replaced with the nucleus of the pet’s cells, according to Ko.
The new egg, which has the pet’s DNA, is placed in a mixture containing the nutrients often found in a uterus, where it is cultured until it can develop into embryos that can be implanted into a surrogate.
If all goes well, the surrogate will carry the pregnancy to term, and voila, a clone will be born.
The problem is that the success rate of cloning is not 100 percent. Not all pregnancies will be successful, and not all embryos will be viable, so multiple surrogate mothers and egg donors may be required.
Because cloning is not a natural process, defects in the embryos can cause miscarriages or infant mortality, Ko explained.
Robert Klitzman, head of Columbia University’s master’s degree in bioethics, stated that contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to just press a button and have Fido appear.
“You may adore pet, but do you really want multiple animals to suffer and die so that you can have one healthy pet?”
More on…… A woman decided to clone her beloved pet after it died. However, it is not a scam.
Another issue, according to Klitzman, is the “naive belief that the clone will be identical and that you will have the same emotional connection.”
“I can either pay thousands of dollars to develop a new creature with a distinct background and personality, or I can adopt a pet from a shelter,” he stated.
“Or perhaps I could adopt an animal who would otherwise be put to death in a shelter. These are ethical concerns that must be examined.”
Losing a pet can be devastating, but cloning “may not allow one to get through their grief and form a relationship with another being,” according to Klitzman.
In addition, conceiving of the clone as a substitute places unreasonable expectations on the new animal, he continued.
However, Anderson stated that she never anticipated Belle to be Chai 2.0.
Anderson stated, “I’ve always said that I cloned my cat not because I wanted to bring her back to life, but because I wanted to carry on a piece of her, and it’s nice to have that in Belle.” Even though they’re different cats, she still possesses a piece of Chai.
Therefore, it’s comfortable in a manner that I can’t quite express.”
In a sense, Belle is living the life Chai never experienced. Anderson stated that Chai was never able to appreciate the joy of her kittenhood due to the long number of ailments she suffered from as a child.
She stated that the first five months of her life were spent in treatment rather than interacting and playing, which may have contributed to her “extremely quiet and standoffish” demeanor.
Anderson was motivated to clone her due to the fact that her pretty difficult life was cut short and studies revealed that none of her illnesses were inherited.
She stated, “It’s about giving her a second shot.”
Anderson also cited her profound bond to Chai, a cat who acted as a cherished companion and source of hope when she was battling despair.
Others, notably the artist Barbra Streisand, have been motivated by the same devotion to clone their dogs.
However, due to the high cost of the operation, some individuals have resorted to exceptional measures, such as trading in vehicles or selling rare works of art.
ViaGen Pets clones dogs and cats for $50,000 and $35,000, respectively. (Anderson paid $25,000 for the cloning procedure five years ago.)
For those who are still undecided, the company offers to store and maintain the cells of pets for $1,600, which is included in the overall cost of cloning.
ViaGen was established in 2002 as a cloning corporation that duplicates horses, cows, and pigs. In that year, they began conserving pet DNA, but they did not begin cloning dogs and cats until 2015, when a South Korean business had accomplished the feat.
According to Melain Rodriguez, the company’s client support manager, roughly 10 percent of ViaGen Pets clients who have stored their pets’ DNA make the leap.
She stated that there is no time limit for the remaining 90 percent of those whose cells have been saved.
Rodriguez stated, “We have people who have preserved cells with us for 17-years and who are now cloning.” The fact that your current puppy is descended from a dog that was alive 25 years ago is truly mind-boggling.
ViaGen Pets does not divulge the number of clones it has produced, but Rodriguez estimates that it is “in the hundreds” and has “increased every year” since 2015.
She remarked, “I don’t believe it will ever be usual for every dog to be cloned, but I do believe its popularity will develop and grow with time.”
Rodriguez admitted that pet cloning is still contentious, but stated that the animals involved are “loved and cared for,” including the surrogate moms, who can be adopted after the birth of a clone.
Rodriguez stated that ViaGen advises clients that they will not receive copies of their previous pets.
She stated, “We coach our clients and make sure they realize what they are getting into.” “I believe the simplest way to describe it is as an identical twin who was born at a different period.”
Anderson experiences déjà vu as she observes Belle interacting with her dogs and refusing to sit still for a Zoom interview. She claims that it is bittersweet.
Nevertheless, there are numerous aspects of the new cat that have her “over the moon.”
She stated, “I don’t believe you ever stop missing someone you love.” “Obviously, I miss her daily. I believe that has diminished over time, but that is simply how grieving works.”
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