Texas A&M Clone first feline friend

Published 8:32 am Sunday, February 17, 2002

Staff Writer
Has your beloved kitty ventured into the great beyond ? Have no fear. With the help of researchers in Texas you may soon be able to hold your faithful feline once again.
Well, sort of.
Dr. Mark Westhusin and his colleagues at Texas A&M University were recently the first to successfully clone a domestic cat.
The effort was supported by a company, Genetic Savings and Clone, of College Station, Texas, and Sausalito, California, which wants to offer cloning to dog and cat owners. It is investing $3.7 million in the project.
The cloning was accomplished by transplanting the DNA from a 2-year-old female calico cat, Rainbow, into an egg cell whose nucleus had been removed. The newly created embryo was then implanted into a surrogate tabby mother.
The result of these efforts in modern science was a female calico named CC, which is short for Copy Cat.
CC is by all accounts a happy, healthy and energetic two-month-old kitten, who does not appear to have picked up any of the attributes of her tabby surrogate mother. The coloration of CC's coat proves indeed that she is indeed a calico.
Consumers might want to think carefully before they attempt to duplicate their own beloved kitty. While genetic testing proves that CC is the clone of DNA donor she does not look identical to her donor. The pattern on a cat's coat is only partly determined by genetics, it also depends on other factors during development.
Although CC is just another in a series of animal clones, her birth may mark the beginning of an era of pet cloning.
Genetic, Savings and Clone has an exclusive license to use this cloning technology and have been charging people to freeze tissue from their pet cats and dogs. So far efforts to clone dogs have failed.
This new development in cloning has also cause a stir of new opinions on the topic of animal cloning.
Some people believe that cloning can be useful in some respects, but completely unnecessary in others.
Phyllis Woodlard , an Atmore resident said, "I think it is half good and half bad, if the cloning is being done for medical reasons, like with pigs for organ transplants, that is one thing, but cloning a cat just for the sake of cloning it, that's ridiculous."
Others worry that cloning now could cause problems in the future. Teresa Jay said, " It is not right because this could cause issues in the future, next they will start cloning people and could start an all new kind of racism."
Some people find fault with cloning for no other reason than because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. "The Lord didn't mean for it," states Bobby McMillan, "It's just not right."
Whatever your stance on the cloning of animals, the future is here and with it comes hope for pet lovers: hope that perhaps they could one day have the closest thing to a immortal animal companion as possible.

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