My yellow Lab, Knucky, died unexpectedly about two years ago, and I miss him greatly. Oh, how nice it would be to have him here with me today! I will always have wonderful memories that I will cherish forever. But what if, though, I could clone him? Would I do it? The answer for me is no. I can’t imagine spending that much money cloning a dog that might look like Knucky but not have an exact personality match. After all, it’s the package deal that I love and miss so much! I also don’t think it would sit well with me to know that I could rescue a yellow Lab from a shelter instead of trying to bring back Knucky just to make me happy.
A woman from California, however, has a different opinion. She recently asked RNL Bio, a South Korean company, to clone her dead pitbull terrier (Booger). She feels such an attachment to this dog since he saved her life from a vicious dog attack that she is willing to put up $50,000 to recreate him. This will be the first time a dog has been cloned commercially. RNL Bio will help Seoul National University stem cell scientists clone Booger since they succeeded in creating the world’s first cloned dog back in 2005. They were able to create a genetic duplicate of a 3-year-old male Afghan hound named Snuppy (Seoul National University puppy).
This, of course, sparked a great deal of opposition from animal rights groups and the U.S. Humane Society as well as veterinary associations and concerned citizens. One of the fights is that although you might get a dog that looks like the one you had, it might have health problems and cause suffering to the dog and perhaps death. Others claim that people have a false hope of getting an exact match of their dog in every way and that might not be true. It might have a different temperament, or it won’t retain all the training and nurturing it experienced over the years. On the other hand, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh says the “primary goal is to advance medical, including veterinary medical, understanding of disease causes and to accelerate stem cell research to the clinic.” Well, the list of pros and cons goes on and on as well as the ethical and moral debate!