Pet Cloning Goes Commercial

PetMD Editorial
February 10, 2009
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Do you love your pet so much that you couldn’t bear the thought of living life without your four-legged friend? For all those who wish they could live their lives in dog years in hopes of never parting with their canine or kitty companions, there’s hope. Commercial pet cloning enables your beloved pet to live on through their clone -- for a DNA sample and a hefty price, that is.

BioArts International, a biotech company based in San Francisco, has recently delivered the first commercially cloned pet to his new owners. Lancelot Encore, or Lancey for short, is a clone of Ed and Nina Otto's beloved Labrador Retriever, Lancelot, who they lost to cancer after 11 1/2 joyous years. The couple won an auction in order to have Lancey created, and paid $155,000 to have the original Lancelot's DNA implanted in an egg by South Korean scientists. The egg was then placed in an Irish Setter, who subsequently gave birth to little Lancey.

Although there is no guarantee that clones will be the spitting image of their originals or share the same personalities, the Ottos could not be happier with their decision. The couple is amazed at how similar Lancey is to the original Lancelot.

Still, the couple admits that they have received quite a bit of negative feedback. The Humane Society has publicly condemned pet cloning, pointing out that the pet overpopulation problem "costs millions of animals their lives and millions in public tax dollars each year" and "may lead to increased animal suffering." Indeed, when the world is facing issues such as pet overpopulation and an economic crisis, paying over 150K for a dog will receive its fair share of criticism.

Biotech companies, however, are hoping to reduce the cost of commercial pet cloning to one-fifth of that price over the next three years. After all, some would argue that there is no price too high for lifelong friendship.

Image: Manik. / via Flickr

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BioArts International