Cat cloned at Texas A&M
Posted by mwalimu (Joe McCauley) on Thu 14 Feb 2002 - 16:14
This article from CNN documents the birth of the first cloned cat, adding that species to the list of animals that have previously been cloned successfully, which includes sheep, mice, and cattle.
It mentions the possibility of pet owners someday being able to clone beloved pets. If you found the pet with the perfect personality, would you want to produce a younger genetic twin of it every few years?
I forsee studies trying to prove how much of personality is genetic and how much is in the environment/upbringing.
Captain; Webship Corwinda
Hello! Yes, it's me again. I'd like to order another Fluffy Mk II, if I could please. Oh yes, with a side of kittens. To go.
Who knew that kittens grow up? I have to keep ordering replacements every six weeks. Sheesh.
I have no idea what the personalities of clones would be in relation to the personality of the original... but if there are no adverse health issues related to cloning (arthiritis, shorter lifespan, mad cow disease, whatever), I would absolutely want to clone at least one cat in particular.
The variations of personalities in relation to environmental factors would certainly be interesting to watch through the various individuals!
On a side note, I wonder if zoos would want to clone their lovers/partners/pets? I wouldn't clone my human mate.....
There have been studies that examined identical (human) twins and triplets who were adopted and raised by different families. The findings of such studies showed that despite their different experiences and environments, their personalities and preferences were surprisingly similar. Don't know how well the results would carry over to animals, many of whom are more imprintable and impressionable at a young age than humans.
[ If you found the pet with the perfect personality, would you want to produce a younger genetic twin of it every few years?]
That's just deeply, deeply disturbing. The ramifications are so vast it's almost impossible to touch on it all, but suffice to say that I can see people abusing that to no end... to the detriment of the "old" animal.
"We use them for divine retribution."
If you mean that people would be inclined to discard the old animal in favor of a younger, cuter, healthier clone, that would be a result of our throw-away society, not a direct result of cloning technology. People already produce animals for superficial, transient factors of cuteness and temporary gratification, and I don't think the availability of clones would change that. Even if some people saw the animals as somehow less valuable because they could always get another one, there is still no exact duplication of an animal because of endlessly variant environmental factors.
Of course, people like that wouldn't treat the original animals with care anyway - brings to mind the sort of person who says "never mind that Old Yeller died, let's just go get you a new puppy." They'll be the way they are and treat animals the way they do regardless of what technology is available - and conversely, those who value each and every individual animal won't turn into the other sort just because some new options are available.
That's what I think, anyway.
I could get my favorite cat "Fats" Aka "Fats Domino" Back from the dead.
Fire can cook food or kill in the form of Napalm. The Technology is Neutral, the use of it is what makes it Good or Evil.
The article about this story in the new york times discusses the private company "Genetic Savings and Clone" which funded the research at Texas A&M.
In the academic culture of "publish or perish" don't confuse pure science with that science which only encourages corporate avarice.
Remember the line from the Steve Martin movie "The Jerk"?
"OOHH- it's a PROFIT deal!"
What the CNN article neglects to mention is that it took 188 tries to get one successfully cloned kitten. The version of this article over on Yahoo is much more extensive, and covers the fact that the project was born out of the Missyplicity dog cloning project that has been going on at Texas A & M for several years now.
As far as the personality of the clone goes, while heredity and enviroment will come into play, the clone will make it's own choices and have experiences that are unlike those of the original pet. To paraphrase the old chinese saying, you can't have the same pet twice.
Also, as any zoologist or biologist will tell you, genetic diversity is a *good* thing. The more variation you have in a species, the less likely they are to be wiped out by pandemics, parasites or other biological nastiness. That's one of the main fears that they currently have about cheetahs, who are so inter-related as to have little or no defense againest a more virulent strain of FeLV or FIV. They lack those little pockets of resistant individuals who are just different enough geneticly for the virus to be unable to take a hold of them.
While the genetic diversity aspect might be new to the animal kingdom, it isn't with regard to plants. Whereas animals require cloning or something similar to produce two or more genetically identical specimens (twins and such notwithstanding), such is not the case with plants. It was known to the ancients that plants can be propagated by taking a part of a plant, such as a stem cutting or a few roots, and growing a whole 'nother plant from them, one that is genetically identical to the parent. This is how many types of fruit trees and grapevines used for making wine are propagated, and this has been used to produce genetically identical plants that not only are grown on multiple continents, but spanning many centuries. If you ever wondered how navel oranges reproduce when they allegedly have no seeds, now you know.
Yes you can't get the same animal back.... but you can start with a similar template. It's like being overtly fond of a breed or color pattern - all Rag Dolls, Maine Coons, or Siamese aren't the same, but they all share endearing traits that inspire some to devote themselves to the breed. It's that way with me and torotishells, and some people feel that way about marmalades, or tuxedo cats, or black cats...
Anyhow, wouldn't it be interesting to see how some individuals developed with the absence of certain events? I'd really like to see a Radar who grew up with intact hips.... it wouldn't be him all over again, of course, and perhaps some of his personality traits that endear me to him so are a result of his disability, but I would really like to know what he'd be like if he could actually jump and run.
That would be a dear thing indeed to see him pounce and play as most other cats do. Though part of what has endeared him to me from the start is the spunk he has shown in overcoming his problem. That whole "Me? Disabled? Nawwww!" bit just gets me right in the heart....
For me, while I do enjoy the group traits particular to a breed, I also find the greatest pleasure in seeing how distinctly individual even the common traits will be. One golden retriever might be a high-energy slobbering goof-ball, while another is a solidly reliable companion, as good as any of the guide or utility dogs. Both having that great golden retreiver socialness, but expressed in very different ways.
So long as there are homeless or unwanted animals, I'll always end up adopting in lieu of feeding the demand for more. I've never had to purchase animals, they've always come to me! I have to admit I don't think I could stomach the idea of cloning, a magnificently expensive and complicated process, instead of swinging by the local shelter and giving a pre-existing animal a second chance.
How many people have seen the Ahnold movie "The Sixth Day"? This screams of the beginnings of "RePet" Personally, I'd rather keep my kitty and when she passes on grieve like normal. C'est la vie. Literally.
Post new comment