Inside Look into Dog Cloning: The Power of Stem Cells Research!Reading Time: 4 minutes
To clone a dog or not to clone a dog? Considered one of the most controversial subjects. Dog cloning, and in fact, human cloning is becoming quite a hot topic in today’s world. As pet owners, we want our furry friends to live forever. Unfortunately, that’s not possible (yet!). But what if you could create an identical copy of your current four-legged companion?
A Copy of Man’s Best Friend: What is Dog Cloning?
At its core, dog cloning is creating a genetic copy of an original dog. Now, before we get into all the interesting stuff, it’s important to keep in mind that when we clone a beloved dog. We do not get the exact pet back! This means that even a dog cloned will have a different personality and different looks from your original man’s best friend.
You may be familiar with the story of Dolly the sheep. Dolly was the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell. Dolly wasn’t the first animal clone – frogs, mice, and cows were successfully cloned before Dolly – but she was the first mammal.
It took nearly 300 cell fusions for 29 early embryos to develop. Thirteen were implanted into surrogate mothers and only one pregnancy was successful.
Dolly was such a success because she lived a normal, healthy life. She was able to mate and reproduce normal offspring in a completely normal way.
While animal cloning may seem futuristic at best, it’s actually quite common in nature. Identical twins share almost identical DNA while asexual reproduction in certain plants and organisms produce identical offspring.
Barbra Streisand: Dog Multiplied! Pet Cloning is A Big Science!
Ever heard of Barbra Streisand and her dog the Coton de Tulear? One of the first celebrities to clone her dog, Babs wanted to see her sweet “Sammie” multiplied!
So what exactly does cloning a pet entail?
A common process for cloning man’s best friend is called enucleation.
Enucleation is a complicated cloning process in which a healthy egg is injected with DNA from the dog to be cloned to create a genetic copy of the original dog. That fertilized egg is implanted into a surrogate.
In theory, the cloned dog should share the same attributes as the original dog – including temperament, intelligence and appearance.
However, that’s not always the case.
According to Scientific Reports, “What made dog cloning challenging was certain unique aspects of the reproductive process in canids compared to most other mammals.” Essentially, dogs have a limited breeding period and extracting their eggs – a necessary step in cloning – is not always easy.
The first successfully cloned puppy was an Afghan hound name “Snuppy”.
Snuppy was born in 2005 in Seoul, South Korea using “somatic cell nuclear transfer” or SCNT. SCNT is the process of removing eggs from female dogs, followed by removing the nucleus, then the body cells from the original dogs are injected back into the eggs.
The eggs act as a host for the original dog’s genetic material. Through electrical simulation, the eggs continue to divide and act like a growing embryo. Then, the eggs are implanted in the surrogate dog.
The hero of a successful dog clone is the female dog – not the cells to be cloned or the cloned dog. Female dogs are the unsung hero of cloned pets not just for their eggs, but their surrogate abilities.
4 Facts You Have to Know About Animal Cloning
- Cloning animals is expensive. Cloning your pet can cost between $50,000-$100,000.
- You cannot clone an animal that has been dead for more than a few days. At that point, the cells are too old to save. Most people looking to clone their pet opt for cloning while their pet is still alive.
- Be ready for complications. With cloning, there is a high risk for miscarriages and deformities. So, you may experience the death of your beloved (cloned) pet all over again.
- Cloning is very unpredictable. While you will be getting a genetic twin of your dog, cloned pets have different lives and personalities.
Bringing Your Big White Dog Back: Pros and Cons of Cloning Dogs
As with any controversial scientific procedure, there will certainly be pros and cons.
Pros about Cloned Animals
One of the biggest pros of animal cloning is research benefits. For example, an entire animal doesn’t have to be cloned. Specific organs, cells, or tissues can be cloned to help medical or pharmaceutical research.
An equally important pro is restoration to the planets ecosystem balance. When an animal goes extinct or leaves an unsupportive ecosystem, the effects on that area can be dramatic. Cloning can help by restoring the balance through replenishing or even reintroducing an endangered or extinct animal.
Dog cloning can also help ease grief. The loss of a beloved pet can cause immense sorrow and sadness. With clones, humans can essentially preserve their cherished family members.
Pet Clones: Cons
Perhaps the biggest con to dog cloning is the fact that cloned dogs are not always exact physical matches of the original dog. Because one genotype can produce multiple phenotypes, the physical appearance of a cloned dog can differ from the original dog.
In addition, cloned pets do not have the same personality as the original pet. Cloned puppies will be the same sex as the donor but “just as it is in nature, may have slight phenotypic differences, such as different markings due to natural epigenetic factors,” according to Viagen Pets FAQ.
Dog Cloning a personality is, in fact, virtually impossible.
To Bring or Not to Bring Back Your Dead Dog: It’s A Controversial Topic
Aside from the fact that bringing a dog back from the dead is already a controversial topic, the question of how many dogs are used in cloning experiments come into play.
For example, to successfully create Snuppy, over 1,000 embryos were transferred to over 120 surrogates. Only three pregnancies occurred. One was a miscarriage and two were carried to term, but one died within three weeks of being born due to a neonatal respiratory issue.
In 2008, the cloning of a Toy Poodle involved implanting 20 dogs – only two of which became pregnant. Only one was successful.
According to John Woestendiek, investigative reporter, and author, “there are concerns about the number of dogs it takes to clone just one…an argument can be made that dog cloning is not only adding to the dog overpopulation problem but causing a lot of pain and suffering along the way.”
Furthermore, pet cloning companies are not subject to state or federal licensing. They also do not need to uphold care standards or keep records on the number of animals they use during experiments.
Clone quality also comes into play. Even if the dog to be cloned was perfectly healthy, that does not mean the clone will be free from abnormalities or deformities.
Are you a Fan of Genetics? Try Dog DNA Testing Instead!
If you are a fan of genetics but aren’t ready to clone your pet just yet, why not try Dog DNA testing instead? Dog DNA testing is a great to way to learn about your dog’s heritage.
With just a simple cheek swab, you can learn all about your furry friends breed history, temperament, and even what health conditions they are prone to.
If you have a mixed breed, the dog DNA test is a great way to find out what dog breeds make up your four-legged friend. And it’s not just for mixed breeds. Purebred dogs must come from somewhere, right? Learn about your dog’s ancestry through DNA kits like Embark DNA Test!
Common Questions on Cloning Animals
All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.