- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2003

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Rainbow the cat is a typical calico with splotches of brown, tan and gold on white. Cc, her clone, has a striped gray coat over white.
Rainbow is reserved. Cc is curious and playful.
Rainbow is chunky. Cc is sleek.
Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society might be inclined to say: I told you so. But then, so would Cc's creators at Texas A&M; University.
Sure, you can clone your favorite cat. But the copy will not necessarily act or even look like the original.
Cc (for carbon copy) is just over a year old. Her birth on Dec. 22, 2001, was big news when it was announced last February because it was the first time a household pet had been cloned. Previous mammal clones were barnyard animals like cows and goats.
Cc's creation was funded by Genetic Savings & Clone, a company that hopes to make money from people's desires to duplicate their favorite pets. Last February, in the journal Nature, the A&M; researchers published details of the project and DNA test results that showed Cc was a clone.
But people who hope cloning will resurrect a pet will be disappointed, said Duane Kraemer, one of A&M;'s animal-cloning experts.
Experts say environment is as important as genes in determining a cat's personality. And as far as appearance, having the same DNA as another calico cat doesn't always produce the same coat pattern.
"This vindicates the opposition we espoused from the beginning, that cloning does not lead to duplication," said Mr. Pacelle, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States.
"Not only does cloning not produce a physical duplicate, but it can never reproduce the behavior or personality of a cat that you want to keep around. There are millions of cats in shelters and with rescue groups that need homes, and the last thing we need is a new production strategy for cats."
Before the birth of Cc, Genetic Savings & Clone had hundreds of pet-DNA samples stored at a cost of $895 for healthy animals and $1,395 for sick or dead animals.
Lou Hawthorne, Genetic Savings & Clone chief executive, has estimated that the cost to create a clone will initially be in the low five figures and later drop to the low four figures.
Though Cc's arrival sparked a deluge of calls from pet owners, more research is needed to figure out how to produce healthy clones before the company can start doing it commercially, said Ben Carlson, the company's spokesman.
"A year ago, we said we'd start commercial services in a year, and here we are a year later," Mr. Carlson said. "It's really impossible for us to make a certain prediction as to how long it's going to take to develop the technology to get successful results."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide