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California Company Sells Cloned Cat [$50,000]
RedNova ^ | 12-23-04

Posted on 12/22/2004 5:49:59 PM PST by SJackson

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, an eight-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.

The company, Sausalito-based Genetic Savings and Clone, made her available to speak to reporters only on condition that her name or hometown not be used. The woman said she fears being the target of groups opposed to cloning.

"Nicky loved water, which is an unusual characteristic of cats. Little Nicky jumped into my bath," said the woman, who said she is in her early 40s and employed in the airline industry.

The company delivered Little Nicky two weeks ago and was expected to publicly announced the news Thursday.

While Little Nicky 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.

By May, the company said it hopes 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. "For $50,000, she could have provided homes for a lot of strays."

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

Genetic Savings and Clone chief executive Lou Hawthorne 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 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."

The company says it carefully counsels its customers about what they'll receive, but insists myriad personality and physical traits will be passed from genetic donor to cloned offspring.

Little Nicky's owner said the company "under promised and over delivered" her cat, which is of the Maine coon variety. A native New England breed, the Maine coon gets its name from the resemblance of a tabby Maine coon's tail to that of a raccoon.

Still other scientists warn 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.

"Within the next five years, it's going to be known as the healthiest animals to get," Hawthorne said.

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-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 is backed by John Sterling, founder of the University of Phoenix, who has funneled more than $10 million into the company, which has yet to turn a profit.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cloning

1 posted on 12/22/2004 5:50:00 PM PST by SJackson
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To: missyme

For your cat list


2 posted on 12/22/2004 5:51:31 PM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: SJackson; Slings and Arrows; Glenn; quantim; republicangel; Bahbah; Beaker; BADROTOFINGER; ...
Considering the prices Maine Coon Cats go for, she may have come out ahead on the deal.

---
Kitty Ping List alert!

[Freepmail me to get on or off the Kitty Ping List.]

3 posted on 12/22/2004 5:54:04 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: SJackson

For some odd reason the movie Pet Semetary keeps running through my mind.

I hope that cat doesn't go for the jugular when she's sleeping.


4 posted on 12/22/2004 6:01:14 PM PST by BROKKANIC
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To: SJackson; MotleyGirl70
http://naturalhealthline.com/newsletter/15apr02/cc.jpg>

My cat is convinced he IS cloned.

5 posted on 12/22/2004 6:10:16 PM PST by lindor
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To: SJackson

$50,000 for a cat, from a woman who works in the airline industry?

This doesn't smell right - maybe the company made her a deal, like charging her $500 for a kitten in return for the photo-op.


6 posted on 12/22/2004 6:10:47 PM PST by japaneseghost
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To: SJackson

$50,000 for a cat, from a woman who works in the airline industry?

This doesn't smell right - maybe the company made her a deal, like charging her $500 for a kitten in return for the photo-op.


7 posted on 12/22/2004 6:11:30 PM PST by japaneseghost
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To: SJackson

Re-Pet... Now what Guvenator movie was that from?


8 posted on 12/22/2004 6:13:05 PM PST by lmr (John Kerry, Favorite of World Leaders: Castro, Arafat, Kim Jong IL,Chavez and Bin Laden)
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To: lindor

Argggghhhhhh

9 posted on 12/22/2004 6:13:06 PM PST by lindor (Blame the vin)
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To: lmr

TOTAL RECALL


10 posted on 12/22/2004 6:17:50 PM PST by MississippiMan (Americans should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.)
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To: SJackson
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

Bonnie Beaver?

11 posted on 12/22/2004 6:20:41 PM PST by glockmeister40
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To: Slings and Arrows

I didn't realize anyone had a cat list. Did you see this post

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1306243/posts


12 posted on 12/22/2004 6:21:46 PM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: japaneseghost
This doesn't smell right - maybe the company made her a deal, like charging her $500 for a kitten in return for the photo-op.

Or we'll do it for free, just tell the reporters we charged $50,000, and everything worked out great!

13 posted on 12/22/2004 6:23:09 PM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: glockmeister40

But are there any special cooking instructions?


14 posted on 12/22/2004 6:24:34 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: SJackson

They've been cloning Marxists a long time, marketing them as DemoCATS....


15 posted on 12/22/2004 6:30:36 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (REMEMBER THE ALGOREAMO--relentlessly hammer on the TRUTH, like the Dems demand recounts)
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To: SJackson

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

I agree with Mr. Magnus. The woman must have a very sad life.


16 posted on 12/22/2004 6:30:46 PM PST by lolhelp
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To: SJackson

Wow! That's pricey roadkill!


17 posted on 12/22/2004 6:31:45 PM PST by Happygal (liberalism - a narrow tribal outlook largely founded on class prejudice)
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To: japaneseghost

"$50,000 for a cat, from a woman who works in the airline industry? "

maybe it was Daschle's wife?


18 posted on 12/22/2004 6:56:34 PM PST by Rakkasan1 (Justice of the Piece: Hope IS on the way...)
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To: SJackson

My Viking Kittie does not think this should be legal.

19 posted on 12/22/2004 7:04:37 PM PST by Angry Republican (Screw the Sun! Ehrlich in '06!)
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To: lolhelp

While I wouldn't spend that kind of money for a cat, I support this woman's right to decide how she spends her own money.


20 posted on 12/22/2004 7:10:45 PM PST by Tymesup
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To: SJackson
Aside from human cloning, which has been achieved only at the microscopic embryo stage

Legally, anyway

21 posted on 12/22/2004 7:12:29 PM PST by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: SJackson

BTTT


22 posted on 12/22/2004 7:15:18 PM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: SJackson
Does that make it a...
Copy Cat!?

(Oh yeah, I went there.)

23 posted on 12/22/2004 7:15:43 PM PST by anonymous_user (Not everything's a conspiracy.)
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To: SJackson

I did - thanks. Do please ping me to any other Cat-related posts you come across (including Rachel Corrie threads).


24 posted on 12/22/2004 7:30:36 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: BROKKANIC

LOL.. I was thinking of Pet Semetary, too. Strange that anyone would want to pay $50,000 to get a cloned kitten. It's not like kittens are hard to come by. In fact, around where I live people have been known to dump off litters.


25 posted on 12/22/2004 8:13:54 PM PST by Sally II
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To: Tymesup

who said anything about how she spends her money, except you that is.


26 posted on 12/22/2004 8:22:14 PM PST by lolhelp
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To: Sally II

Actually, purebred Maine Coon Cats are VERY expensive - $2000 or more for a kitten is common.

(My tuxedo kitty, OTOH, cost me the candy bar I gave to the neighbors' child who caught her as a stray.)


27 posted on 12/22/2004 8:59:51 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: SJackson

I don't think I'd ever pay much money to buy a cat, beyond what a standard pet-quality Siamese costs. But I have often reflected that I would like a clone of my dog, who is mostly Basenji, admixed with some other mysterious thing like AmStaff or goodness knows what else. He is the best dog I've ever had, a very charming, very intelligent personality boy. Everyone who meets him adores him, and I do wish he hadn't been neutered before I got him so I could get more like him. Maybe if the price comes down radically and the dependability of the procedure goes way up, cloning is the answer.


28 posted on 12/22/2004 9:25:25 PM PST by Capriole (the Luddite hypocritically clicking away on her computer)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I paid $200 for a Maine Coon kitten 15 years ago. She's still around. Not as spry as she once was, however.


29 posted on 12/22/2004 10:34:27 PM PST by .38sw
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To: Slings and Arrows

bttt


30 posted on 12/23/2004 12:12:29 AM PST by lainde
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To: SJackson
I have a black cat. Of course the moral of the story is a clone is NOT even an identical twin! If we were cloned, we'd have different personalities and interests simply because our life experiences would be different. Reminds me of the Hitlers in The Boys From Brazil. They may have looked like the original but where it counts, they were nothing like him.
31 posted on 12/23/2004 12:17:38 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Slings and Arrows

LMAO!


32 posted on 12/23/2004 1:37:09 AM PST by SirLurkedalot (Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah!!!)
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To: Angry Republican
CLONE THIS!
33 posted on 12/23/2004 7:18:59 AM PST by Rakkasan1 (Justice of the Piece: Hope IS on the way...)
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To: .38sw

I just got a Pomeranian pup for my wife as a Christmas gift. $500--and twice as cute as this freakshow cat. (I'm allergic).


34 posted on 12/23/2004 1:55:50 PM PST by Callahan
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To: Angry Republican

Just you wait till a bereaved pet requests the cloning of a deceased owner. Not likely with felines, though.


35 posted on 12/23/2004 3:07:55 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

Yeah. Cats are independent creatures.


36 posted on 12/23/2004 3:09:18 PM PST by Angry Republican (Screw the Sun! Ehrlich in '06!)
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