|Thursday, February 17, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 97
Mitchell on the rodeo
Ed De La Garza
Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty
Genetic Savings and Clone opened for business Wednesday. Why does this College Station laboratory deserve attention? GSC is the first cloning business devoted to reproducing pets. Not your dear Aunt Clara, Grandpa Wally, Grandma Moses or little brother Billy. Pets.
The company began as an offshoot of the Missyplicity Project at Texas A&M -- a project funded by a pet owner determined to clone a mixed border collie. Researchers received enough inquiries about cloning their dogs, cats, hamsters or cockatoos to make the venture feasible.
Customers can have genetic samples of Rover or Mittens sent via speed delivery to ensure proper processing. Though scientists still haven't been able to successfully clone a pet, the purpose of GSC (at least in the meantime) is to store the samples (starting at $1,000, going as high as $2,500) until technology catches up with the dream.
After that, the final price for a cloned pet could begin at $25,000. Pets will be cloned by placing embryos (grown from Mittens' frozen cells) in a surrogate animal. There's been no word yet on how Dolly, the cloned Scottish sheep, feels about the subject.
Many people include their household pets as part of the family. Pets hold a special place. They're unique, have their own personalities, and are dependable unless they're cats.
When pets get sick, owners do anything they can to insure a speedy recovery. When they become gravely ill, owners lament the possibility of losing them ... just as they would upon learning of a human family member's terminal disease. The grieving process is the same -- shock, denial, sorrow and finally acceptance.
Owners know that they will more than likely come to a point where they are faced with a pet's death. It's part of being a pet owner. A cat doesn't really have nine lives. It shouldn't.
This seems like a quirky, off-beat story. It may be light, but if it's possible to clone a dying animal, isn't it also possible to clone a dying relative?
Cloning pets is a dangerous step in what up until now is an unregulated business. Cloning could be a good thing, if it means genetic research which leads to cures for diseases. They've opened Pandora's box, but scientists are acting as though there aren't any consequences.
Besides, who wants a bunch of Cujos running wild in the streets?