Give Your Dog a Clone; (1) Chingu and Sarang: They Were Born Some Six Years after Missy Died (2) Missy: Her Extracted DNA Was Used to Clone Three Puppies
Byline: David Derbyshire
AS they scamper in the grass, they look like any other adorable puppies.
But these two playful pups - and a third from the same DNA donor - are theworld's first commercially-cloned dogs and are now at the centre of a hugeethical and scientific row.
The U.S. company behind their creation will next month hold an online auctionto give five wealthy pet owners the opportunity to have their dogs cloned.
The successful bidders will be able to make a genetically-identical copy of anexisting pet - or create a new puppy from the frozen tissue of a long-dead pet.Bidding is expected to begin at more than $100,000 - about [pounds sterling]50,000.
While pet cloning may appear little more than a bizarre and morbid extravagancefor the super-rich, it comes at a high price.
Cloning is still a hit-and-miss procedure and for almost every success comes astream of miscarriages, stillbirths and premature deaths.
Animal welfare campaigners and ethical experts have condemned the move,accusing BioArts - the company offering the service - of exploiting owners'fears over losing a pet. But Lou Hawthorne, head of BioArts, believes therewill be no shortage of those willing to pay for the chance to copy a beloveddog.
'It could easily end up being price comparable to a luxury car, or a vacationhouse,' he said. 'It's not going to be cheap. But then the process isn'tcheap.' The three puppies - named Mira, Chingu and Sarang - were created fromsmall pieces of skin and other body tissue taken from Missy, a colliehuskycross which belonged to Mr Hawthorne's mother.
Samples of Missy were taken in 1997 and after her death in 2002. They werecloned using the same technique developed by British scientists for Dolly thesheep. …