Would You Clone Your Dog If You Could Afford It?

The hardest part of having furry family members is eventually being forced to say goodbye. It’s a sad fact that our pets lead much shorter lives than we do, and their death affects us as much as, if not more than, the deaths of the people in our lives.

But what if you could bring your beloved pet back to life, generation after generation? Technology has advanced to the point that there are at least 2 companies in the world who are cloning pets, ViaGen, based in Texas, and Sooam Biotech, out of South Korea. With prices starting around $50,000, and a waiting list of around 6 months, it is actually possible to get a puppy who is a genetic clone of your dog.

How does cloning work?

A small biopsy removes a sample of cells from your living or recently-deceased pet. These cells may be frozen while you decide whether or not to actually clone your dog. The cells are replicated, and a cell will then replace the nucleus of a female donor dog’s egg. Each company has a patented process that helps the egg and the cell fuse together and start growing. The embryo is then transplanted into a surrogate mother dog, and from there the puppy grows and is born like a normal dog. Here’s a video from ViaGen explaining the process in a little more detail.

Will the new puppy be exactly like my original dog?

Well, not exactly. You’ve heard of “nature versus nurture,” right? A dog’s personality is tied as much to their upbringing as it is to their genetics. So while the new dog will be basically the same as an identical twin to your other dog genetically, they probably will not have the same exact personality. Even with the same upbringing, minor incidents can have lasting repercussions on a puppy’s psychology. Also, you are not the same person now, raising your new puppy, as you were when you raised your original dog.

While there hasn’t been much research yet on the personalities of cloned pets, research on cloned livestock has had some interesting results. For example, cloned cattle have been shown to prefer the company of other clones over non-cloned cattle. Since it’s only been a little over 20 years since Dolly the sheep became the first cloned mammal, much is still lacking in our understanding of cloned animals and how they may differ, ever-so-slightly, from their original counterparts.

What do you think? If you could afford it, would you clone your dog? Let us know what you think in the comments!

(H/T: Chicago Tribune, NY Mag)