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Old 12-23-2004, 11:18 AM   #1
Heretic
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Default And so it begins...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6747736/

SAN FRANCISCO - The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, a 9-week-old kitten delivered to a Texas woman saddened by the loss of a cat she had owned for 17 years.

The kitten cost its owner $50,000 and was cloned from a beloved cat, named Nicky, that died last year. Nicky’s owner banked the cat’s DNA, which was used to create the clone.

“He is identical. His personality is the same,” the woman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she said she fears being targeted by groups opposed to cloning.

Yet while Little Nicky, who was delivered two weeks ago, frolics in his new home, the kitten’s creation and sale has reignited fierce ethical and scientific debate over cloning technology, which is rapidly advancing.

The company that created Little Nicky, Sausalito-based Genetic Savings and Clone, said it hopes by May to have produced the world’s first cloned dog — a much more lucrative market than cats.

While it is based in the San Francisco Bay area, the company’s cloning work will be done at its new lab in Madison, Wis.

Commercial interests already are cloning prized cattle for about $20,000 each, and scientists have cloned mice, rabbits, goats, pigs, horses — and even the endangered banteng, a wild bull that is found mostly in Indonesia.

Several research teams around the world, meanwhile, are racing to create the first cloned monkey.

Aside from human cloning, which has been achieved only at the microscopic embryo stage, no cloning project has fueled more debate than the marketing plans of Genetic Savings and Clone.

“It’s morally problematic and a little reprehensible,” said David Magnus, co-director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University. “For $50,000, she could have provided homes for a lot of strays.”

Animal rights activists complain that new feline production systems aren’t needed because thousands of stray cats are euthanized each year for want of homes.

Lou Hawthorne, Genetic Savings and Clone’s chief executive, said his company purchases thousands of ovaries from spay clinics across the country. It extracts the eggs, which are combined with the genetic material from the animals to be cloned.

Critics also complain that the technology is available only to the wealthy, that using it to create house pets is frivolous and that customers grieving over lost pets have unrealistic expectations of what they’re buying.

In fact, the first cat cloned in 2001 had a different coat from its genetic donor, underscoring that environment and other biological variables make it impossible to exactly duplicate animals.

“The thing that many people do not realize is that the cloned cat is not the same as the original,” said Bonnie Beaver, a Texas A&M animal behaviorist who heads the American Veterinary Medical Association, which has no position on the issue. “It has a different personality. It has different life experiences. They want Fluffy, but it’s not Fluffy.”

Scientists also warn that cloned animals suffer from more health problems than their traditionally bred peers and that cloning is still a very inexact science. It takes many gruesome failures to produce just a single clone.

Genetic Savings and Clone said its new cloning technique, developed by animal cloning pioneer James Robl has improved survival rates, health and appearance. The new technique seeks to condense and transfer only the donor’s genetic material to a surrogate’s egg instead of an entire cell nucleus.

Between 15 percent and 45 percent of cloned cats born alive die within the first 30 days, Hawthorne said. But he said that range is consistent with natural births, depending on the breed of cat.

Austin, Texas-based ViaGen Inc., which has cloned hundreds of cows, pigs and goats, also is experimenting with the new cloning technique.

“The jury is still out, but the research shows it to be promising,” company president Sara Davis said. “The technology is improving all the time.”

Genetic Savings and Clone has been behind the creation of at least five cats since 2001, including the first one created.

It hopes to deliver as many as five more clones to customers who have paid the company’s $50,000 fee. By the end of next year, it hopes to have cloned as many as 50 cats.

The company has yet to turn a profit.
Hey, its Re-Pets...just like the Ahnold movie.
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:23 AM   #2
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$50k & a piece of old pu$$y to get some younger pu$$y.

And they arrest people for prostitution....

Yeah that was bad pun wasn't it? ....
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:26 AM   #3
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Who pays 50k for a cat? get one free at the pound.
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:35 AM   #4
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Cats are best braised in red wine and served with a nice risotto. $50k is a lot for dinner
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:47 PM   #5
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Seriously Chuk, best thing you ever said. Thousands of animals die at the pound because people spend $ on new ones......sad
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:59 PM   #6
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what people choose to do with their money is really no business of mine.

rather than preach to them what i think they should do, i choose to do what i feel is right.

all of my pets come from the pound, or are adopted strays. and i love them all...well, i miss them now, cause i don't have any pets anymore.

it actually costed me um..about 45 bucks to get my kitty from the pound, but i had the option of getting 40 of it back when i had him fixed at six months. i bought a coworker a kitty gift certificate from the pound here for 45, but never heard if any of that was refundable. adult cats are more spendy. personally, i'd rather drop money to the pound and the humane society than a cloning institution...but again, it's their money, not mine.

my next kitty is going to be a gift from a breeder (manx/calico mix), but my second cat (i always like to keep two...at least hehe) will be rescued.
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Old 12-24-2004, 08:10 AM   #7
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Why do pounds charge for the pets? Hell, a lot of people won't take free pets. I don't see many people paying for them.
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Old 12-24-2004, 08:24 AM   #8
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Why do pounds charge for the pets? Hell, a lot of people won't take free pets. I don't see many people paying for them.
Because the medical care, food, and other necessities cost money. Receiving money from a person or persons that adopt an animal from the "pound" means less reliance on taxpayer money to cover expenses (depending on whether it is a state run or privately funded institute).
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Old 12-24-2004, 08:41 AM   #9
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many people view the pound as a community service and consider it something of a cause. not only do people go purchase pets from there, but they also freely donate money.

i know that a lot of people also prefer to get their pets from the pound over the cardboard box at the local wal mart because the ones from the pound often come with current vaccinations, they've been fixed if they are old enough, and some organizations even offer the tracking chip .. all for the cost of the pet (45 bucks).

so not only are they supporting their local pound, but the person purchasing the pet has many more assurances of the health and safety of the pet they are taking home with them.

edit: unfortunately, this isn't true of all city pounds. different communities support to different measures. where i live, local vets donate their time and even some resources to vaccinations and pet health care costs, the staff is 100% volunteer based, and the local residents utilize the services they provide. not all communities are so lucky.
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Old 12-24-2004, 10:15 AM   #10
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Nailed me a cat last night with my Suburban. Sure hope the owner's didn't pay $50,000 for it. Reminds me of the millions spent to save a seal from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, it was released and eaten by a killer whale in less than 5 minutes. Me thinks we can find cheaper ways to feed a Killer Whale. Penny wise and pound foolish.

As for the cloning, it isn't about the 'pet' per se, it is about the technology. My concern is how well does a cloned animal breed? If we cloned 1,000 California Condor's but they were all sterile, means we need to go back to the drawing board. If we could clone extinct animals from museum specimens (modern day, not pre historic), I see this as fantastic technology. The Passenger Pigeon and other birds that went extinct in the 1900's would be great candidates. Cloning is a good thing, the hard part is where are the ethical boundaries? Do we attempt to clone human organs? Imagine if we could clone nerve's or just get nerve and brain tissue to regenerate. I think this is exciting and fascinating technology.
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Old 12-24-2004, 10:59 AM   #11
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I see no problem cloning organs

"Yes, I'm afraid you will need a heart transplant else you'll surely be dead by morning. Good news though, we just put some of your DNA in the nuker and it should be ready in about 5 minutes."


As for cloning an actual person..it would be....well, i don't rightly know.

Considering humankind right now...if "word" got out that someone was a clone, he would probably be mocked, beaten, and possibly killed for being "different."
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Old 12-24-2004, 02:00 PM   #12
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I think this actually underlines how cloning itself has few ethical issues. As far as what stupid people will do with the technology, that's a whole 'nother debate.

“The thing that many people do not realize is that the cloned cat is not the same as the original,” said Bonnie Beaver, a Texas A&M animal behaviorist who heads the American Veterinary Medical Association, which has no position on the issue. “It has a different personality. It has different life experiences. They want Fluffy, but it’s not Fluffy.”
Genes aren't everything. Even if you clone a human being, all you make is an identical twin. Except that it gets artificially planted in a womb instead of being made the old fashioned way, and comes out a couple years later.

Identical twins are not the same person. They have different consciousnesses, different brains, different everything except DNA. It doesn't matter how it works, because all we need to do is realize that we've got clones being born pretty regularly. If you argue that human clones have no rights, you may as well argue that identical twins have no rights (but which one is the real one and which is the clone?).

So when people clone their pets, they are deluding themselves. It's no different from the televangelist, the 419 scammer, the spam-mailer, or any other number of things we typically find astounding that people fall for. The only unethical thing these companies are doing is bilking people out of their money, which isn't unethical at all in capitalism. We can laugh at the people who buy cloned pets, but the companies are just fisting them with the invisible hand.

It's a non-issue, and only becomes an issue when people fail to understand what cloning actually is.
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