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Pet cloning is the cloning of a pet animal. The first commercially cloned pet was a cat named Little Nicky, produced in 2004 by Genetic Savings & Clone for a north Texas woman for the fee of US$50,000. On May 21, 2008 BioArts International announced a limited commercial dog cloning service through a program it called Best Friends Again in partnership with a Korean company Sooam Biotech. This program came on the announcement of the successful cloning of a family dog Missy, which was widely publicized in the Missyplicity Project. In September 2009 BioArts announced the end of its dog cloning service. In July 2008, the Seoul National University, co-parents of Snuppy, reputedly the world's first cloned dog in 2005, created five clones of a dog named Booger for its Californian owner. The woman paid $50,000 for this service.
Sooam Biotech continued developing proprietary techniques for cloning dogs based on a licence from ViaGen's subsidiary Start Licensing (which owns the original patent for cloning Dolly the sheep). Sooam created cloned puppies for owners whose dogs had died, charging $100,000 a time Sooam Biotech was reported to have cloned 700 dogs by 2015 and to be producing 500 cloned embryos of various species a day in 2016. In 2015 the longest period after which Sooam Biotech could clone a puppy was 12 days from the death of the original pet dog.
While a cloned animal may be more similar to the original than its sibling, it will on average only be as similar as an identical twin.
Some critics, accuse pet cloning proponents of encouraging prospective pet cloning clients to falsely expect that their new pets will be indistinguishable from their old pets.
Defenders of pet cloning argue that pet cloning does not contribute to pet homelessness, the animals involved are treated humanely, it makes people happy, there is a demand for it, it will contribute to scientific, veterinary, and medical knowledge, and it will help efforts to preserve endangered cousins of the cat and dog.
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- BioArts International
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