JUST WEEKS after producing ‘true’ cloned kittens using a new procedure that could lead to the production of replica pets, a leading American cloning company is due to open a British branch to allow UK pet owners the chance to have their favourite pets cloned – for a price naturally.
As reported previously, Genetic Savings and Clone company, based in California USA recently announced the birth of two cloned Bengal kittens – named Tabouli and Baba Ganoush - which carry similar markings to the adult female cat from whose cells they were cloned, suggesting that it may be possible to produce almost exact copies of favourite animals.
When ‘CC’, the first cloned cat, was born two years ago, her colour and markings were very different from those of her biological mother, a Tortoiseshell raising doubts as to whether cloning could create replica pets.
GSC said that a new technique known as chromatin transfer may have solved this problem. "These two kittens should put to rest the issue of resemblance between clones and their genetic donors," said Lou Hawthorne, the company’s chief executive, whose own 1 year-old Bengal cat, Tahini, was the donor.
"When performed by a skilled team using sufficiently advanced technology, clones resemble their donors to an uncanny degree. It’s a happy day for our clients."
Now GSC plan to open offices in London early next year, to meet demand from international customers who are said to be "clamouring" for the company’s cloning services.
"London and Tokyo will be followed by other cities," added Low hawthorn last weekend. "Inquiries to us have revealed an enormous international demand.
"Transporting frozen DNA is not only expensive but also a delicate operation open to human failure. By establishing offices in various countries, customers will find costs not only exclude the transportation operation, but will also soon fall."
In the meantime, GSC has launched a cut-price shipping service to allow customers to deposit their pet’s DNA into the company PetBank Express facility, using a special BioBox which the company will send to the client’s vet who performs the DNA collection. The cost of the PetBank Express service is £170, but this excludes the ‘end use’ cloning, which is currently pegged at around £28,000 per cat.
Cloned dogs, as yet, are not available, but GSC is confident that it will not be long before dogs join their feline counterparts as part of the brave new world of clones