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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 11:09 GMT
Would you clone your pet?
Scientists in Texas in the United States have unveiled the world's first cloned kitten.

Two-month-old Cc is the only surviving animal of 87 kitten embryos created by cloning.

She is a copy of her genetic mother, not of the surrogate cat which actually gave birth to her.

The work, described in the scientific journal Nature, could open the door to pet cloning, or the cloning of rescue animals or rare species.

Would you clone your cherished pet? Do you welcome the idea - or is it one scientific step too far?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Why is it necessary to clone pets?

Hugh Dalton, UK
No I would not. Why is it necessary to clone pets? Death is an inevitable consequence of life. Having recently lost a much-loved cat I know all too well how upsetting it is. However, it is far healthier, mentally, to accept this and be comforted by happy memories than to live believing that somehow the exact same body and personality can be magically recreated. Also, the loss of a pet is often a child's first experience of death. Being exposed to this at a young age is a learning experience and being taught to understand and accept death is an important part in developing a healthy and balanced mind.
Hugh Dalton, UK

I do not have either pets or my own children but if it is legal I would rather clone myself.
Vijay K. Vijayaratnam, UK

This cat-clone should be cloned again and again - until everyone has one just like it. What a lovely kitty.
Professor Fate, USA

There is no need for any increase in the population

Ricardo Cabeza, Malaysia
I would not clone a pet nor would I breed one by any other means. There are so many homeless dogs and cats that die or are put to death that there is no need for any increase in the population.
Ricardo Cabeza, Malaysia

A pet - dog or cat - is as individual as any man or woman and cloning is just as wrong!
Tony Lynch, England

After having seen Stephen King's "Pet Cemetery" I would never clone any living thing.
Ryckesha Wells, Bay Area, USA

I think that I would rather clone my wife, that way I could have two roast dinners on Sunday.
Phil T, Oman

Many lonely people rely on their short-lived pets for companionship. Their death can now be effectively reversed and I believe the idea of cloning should be welcomed
McLean, Philippines

There are too many homeless animals as it is

Kalyanee, India
There are too many homeless animals as it is. I guess we just want to prove our technological advancements by demonstrating this. Instead of cloning my dog, I would probably adopt another homeless dog that mine gets along well with.
Kalyanee, India

I agree that when a furry companion dies we should try to move on and sooner or later discover the new and wonderful traits and companionship that a new pet would provide. It will never completely replace our friend but in encompassing the differences, we expand ourselves. At the same time, while I could be tempted to do this I would not judge someone who felt that it was something they had to do. After all, whom does it harm?
Robert Bjornsen, USA

It would not be the same animal. Losing a dearly loved pet is never easy (I still remember my family's cat who died 15 years ago with great affection), but nothing can bring that pet back once it is gone. It would be a new and different pet, albeit with the same DNA, with a new set of circumstances to help shape its personality. There are plenty of other cats out there badly in need of a loving home.
Gill, UK

Sorry, is there a world shortage of cats, or something? Not round our way there isn't - if you want a few, come along anytime with a big sack. Pestilential vermin.
Edward, UK

You can clone an animal's DNA, but not their personality

Stefan P, England
I have two dogs, and whilst they are the same breed, same sex, both have different, but still loving personalities. You can clone an animal's DNA, but not their personality. Personalities are more unique than DNA. The same will of course apply to what seems to be the eventual cloning of humans.
Stefan P, England

Regards Tracey & Fluffy;
You wouldn't be extending your poodles life, genetically it would be the same dog, but personality wise, it's an entirely new life influenced by what happens as it grows up. And while you can clone cells, you can never produce the exact same conditions that any creature developed in.
Fiona, UK

If I clone Elvis, he will look like Elvis, sound like Elvis, but he will NOT be Elvis. The being within that form, call it what you like - soul, spirit, personality - will be different and unique. So cloning some person or some animal that you love, believing that you are getting them back is a delusion.
M Maguire, UK

Fantastic! I would clone the miserable cat we have (strangely called CT) and try to bring up the clone so that it is more loving and less weird. That way I could take the original to the RSPCA and keep the clone all without my girlfriend ever knowing!
Mark, UK

It does seem to miss the point that it would still be a different animal. It's like saying identical twins are two instances of the same person. Everyone knows they are not.
Kirsty, UK

Much as I love my cat I would not clone him. He is unique, and when it is time for him to go to cat-heaven I shall of course be subject to the usual grief that such an event causes; cloning him would not bring him back. After that, there will be many other rescued cats needing a home and I hope to be in a position to oblige.

If the clone would be capable of wiping it's feet, shutting doors behind it and staying in bed longer at weekends I would do it tomorrow.
James Crosby, UK

Cloning happens in nature - what do you think twins are?

Alex, UK
Why is it when I read forum reaction to cloning I always see someone banging on about its being unnatural! Cloning happens in nature - what do you think twins are? Besides, I believe having a pet is 'unnatural' only in the sense that you have complete power and control over another being's life. Humans need to feel this sense of personal power over things in their lives. The poorer people are, the more pets (and children) they usually have to compensate their reduced status in a harsh world. Cloning would not be an issue for them; they could not afford it.
Alex, UK

Clone a pet? No, I wouldn't - though little Cc: looks very cute and makes me wish I was living somewhere I could have a cat! Cloning endangered species would have to be done very carefully, because it would decrease the equivalent variation in the gene pool - and the risks associated with in-breeding would rise. However, it may be the only way to save these creatures, and I think it should be done. Thus, the research is Good and Right and Worthwhile!
Jenny Radcliffe, Durham, UK

This is yet another symptom of the "easy come, easy go" consumer society we live in. One should naturally grieve for a precious pet but this is nothing more than a "quick-fix" for the owner. Potential owners of such pets should know that the life-span of cloned animals are reduced by up to 28% according to research following the "birth" of Dolly the Sheep. These pet owners are potentially faced with the premature deaths of their cloned pets resulting in a never-ending spiral of grief and misery.
Edward, UK

I believe that we should leave creation up to God

Gwen, USA
I am against cloning for any reason. I believe that we should leave creation up to God. And there are already too many animals in the world that are not cared for.
Gwen, USA

I would clone my cat, then kill the original. I would repeat this process eight times so I could say my cat has nine lives. Wouldn't that be worth it?
Sean, UK

To answer this ask yourself - Would I like to be cloned on my deathbed? My answer is no and so I assume that if my dog were of equal intelligence to me her answer would be the same. I don't know why we're so interested in cloning anyway. Millions of years of evolution made shared reproduction a hell of a lot of fun!
Keith, Ireland

Cloning has been thought of recently - whether for pets or family members - as a way to escape the finality of death. What is most apparent in the statements of people wishing to have dead loved ones brought back, human or otherwise, is the fact they haven't been able to come to terms with this fact, and the grieving process is nowhere near being over for them. Acceptance of this fact, although very hard, is the only way to deal with the situation.
Paul M, UK

Charge around one million USD, and pass the proceeds to research aimed at solving real problems

Christopher Laird, Japan
It's an excellent idea. Those stupid enough to do this will probably have enough money to pay substantially for the service. Charge around one million USD, and pass the proceeds to research aimed at solving real problems.
Christopher Laird, Japan

Surely the cloning of a pet or any living thing will re-produce the animal in appearance and genetic makeup alone. The personality and for lack of a better word soul of the animal is bound to be different in some way. Whilst I have no objections to cloning per se it seems pointless to expect that clones will have a behavioural or personality match to their genetic 'parent', therefore who would want to clone their cherished pet?
Max Power, UK

With so many unwanted pets being abandoned every year, what is the point of cloning more?
Steve, England

Trying to replace the irreplaceable with a carbon copy is a very sad thing to do

Colin Mackay, UK
No, I think that this is a very bad idea. It is the natural order of things that we are all only on this earth for a short time. A loved pet will die, accept this and move on, and grow to love another pet with a different personality. Trying to replace the irreplaceable with a carbon copy is a very sad thing to do.
Colin Mackay, UK

I would welcome it if it were to be used for the cloning of species that man has destroyed. As a means of bringing back a dead pet, it would be a waste of time and money. Unfortunately there are a lot of sad individuals who would pay to have this done. To those people I would say, open your eyes. There are a lot more useful things to spend your disposable income on. Type 'charity' into Yahoo. It may take you somewhere.
John, Italy

Whatever next?! I guess why not! Hey?! Now that we have solved all the problems of the world we can sit back and ponder over what we can do with our technology. This is obviously ridiculous. Let us first solve, hunger, poverty, overpopulation. What we don't need is another cat!.
Siamak Mirnezami, UK

How traumatising would it be to have a clone of much-loved pet, who was of a less-endearing temperament

Stephen, UK
There is no proof that an animal's personality is genetically based; even the fur pattern of Cc brings this into question. How traumatising would it be to have a clone of much-loved pet, who was of a less-endearing temperament. Vicious even? When a pet dies, it's best to cherish the special personality and not try to replace them. The same goes for relationships with ex-lovers!
Stephen, UK

One has only one life and I certainly wouldn't want to face a lookalike. The same goes for any of the pets I have had. The only condition I will condone cloning is if it happens naturally as in twins, or if there is an attempt to bolster numbers of an endangered species.
Hazel, UK

Cloning replicates only the body, not the personality. Anyone who truly cherishes their pet has feelings similar to those they have for their children. A person who would have their pet cloned wouldn't be one who cherished it very much. This appears to be a case of a scientific 'advance' looking for a lucrative opportunity and not much more.
Dave Miller, USA

Why ever not - if the cloned animal was healthy, what possible harm is it doing? The animal can't ever know it has been cloned so what's the problem?
Kevin Robb, UK

There are enough animals languishing in shelters or being kept in dreadful conditions on "puppy farms"

Di Stewart, USA
As the owner of six cats, each of them "rescued" I am adamantly opposed to any process which allows the genetic manipulation of a species. There are enough animals languishing in shelters or being kept in dreadful conditions on "puppy farms." Let's face it, cats do not need any help breeding - they do that quite nicely on their own.
Di Stewart, USA

Yes I would consider it. I can't see why not. It wouldn't be a replacement as such, just a continuation of my pet's life.
Deborah Weston, United Kingdom

Two problems with this: 1)Many cats died to make this happen 2)It won't be the same cat you had If people have too much money to spare, and want an animal to show affection to, please give the money to an animal shelter and take one of their abandoned animals home - you'll feel a lot better about yourself.
Andrew T, UK

While cloning may have valid medical uses (issues of morality aside), this form of cloning is another attempt to avoid the inevitable, to look death in the face and say "Ha! You missed!"
Ahmed, Texas, USA

I am an owner of a poodle called "Fluffy", who is very old and affectionate. I would very much like to extend Fluffy's longevity and I feel that cloning is a solution to this.
Tracey McCall, USA

I find the concept of cloning, especially for such things as pets, deeply disturbing. Pets are not simply toys that can be reproduced whenever the old one wears out. They are living, breathing beings! Bad enough we have domesticated animals whose only (human forced) purpose in life is to get bred and killed for our food, but why must we further devalue life in this manner?
Michelle, UK

See also:

14 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
Texas researchers clone cat
04 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Animal cloning: What is the future?
01 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Endangered sheep cloned
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