Cloning has been such a futuristic term even until now. Although science would explain that it is actually possible, many people would still be a bit skeptical about it. For many years scientists have dedicated their lives to studying about cloning technology. First, it was only used to replicate plants, today cloning is possible on animals. Gone are the days when cloning remains only in sci-fi books and movies because it is definitely achievable. In fact, you can even try to have your own pet dog cloned.
Sooam Biotech, is a company in Seoul, South Korea that specializes in cloning animals. This company has been known for their research and application on cloning technology. Anyone who wants to have their dogs cloned, can just go to Sooam and avail their services.
David Kim, one of the scientists in Sooam Biotech said that they have been able to successfully produce 600 dog clones. He even added that there are no limitations on the dog’s breed or age. But Of course, dog cloning isn’t as quick and easy as they were in movies, and it does not come cheap either.
Sooam Biotech charges $100,000 for dog cloning. You might think that’s it’s too much for a new pup, but dog cloning is a very meticulous process that requires the services of experts, hence the steep price.
If you plan to clone your pet, it must be alive or dead for no longer than five days. This is because scientists need live skins cells in order for them to successfully clone an animal. Then, Sooam requires an eight-millimeter wide sample of flesh taken from your live pet. This sample is called as a biopsy sample, which you can ask any vet to do. For dogs that have already died, several biopsy samples may be needed to give scientists more chances of finding live skin cells.
After Sooam receives the biopsy samples, they are then sterilized and cut into smaller pieces to be treated with a reagent to chemically dissociate the sample and separate the cells from the tissues. After which, the samples will be placed in a centrifuge for scientists to be able to collect the cells and transfer them to a growth medium.
After this process, Sooam gets two dogs from a lab animal provider. The first dog would act as the egg donor. Scientists would first take egg cells from the donor. Then, they will extract the nucleus and take out the DNA from the eggs they have harvested. Through this process, scientists are creating genetically empty egg cells.
The scientists then proceed on fertilizing the eggs. Unlike normal fertilization processes, this process does not require a sperm. Instead, an egg cell is injected with the original dog’s cells and placed under a series of short electrical shocks from an electro cell manipulator. This step activates and combines the membranes of the egg and the cells of the original to create an embryo. In just one minute, they can produce an entire batch of clone dog embryos.
The second dog would act as the surrogate for the clone dogs. Scientists will place up to 15 embryos in the surrogate. After 30 days, they will confirm the surrogate’s pregnancy. Sooam says that there is a 40% success rate after this step, but in case it does not pan out, the scientists would find out what went wrong and repeat the process on another surrogate.
Once the surrogate is confirmed to be pregnant, it would take another 30 days for her to give birth. During this period, the dog will be closely monitored by scientist until it successfully gives birth. Sooam takes care of the clone dogs until they are ready to go home to their owners.
Despite the fact that the clone dogs look exactly the same as their original, Sooam does not guarantee that these dogs would inherit the personality of their original. This would always depend on the clone dog’s environment.
Although aware of the consequences and financial burden dog cloning brings, dog owner Junichi Fukuda did not hesitate on getting his beloved dog, Momoko cloned. He and Momoko have been buddies for over 16 years, with Fukuda saying that Momoko was the only one with him during his rough times.
After Momoko died, Fukuda did not think twice about getting her cloned. Now, Fukuda has Momotan, Momoko’s clone, to have as a companion. Momotan has the exact same physical attributes of Momoko, but her personality is still to be developed. Fukuda said that he is willing to do anything just to get Momoko back, even if it meant spending a fortune.
Dog cloning may just be the answer to bringing our beloved furry friends back. Although it isn’t exactly the most conventional and pocket-friendly way of showing how much you love your dogs, there are some people like Fukuda who are willing to go through lengths for their best friends.
With Sooam’s cloning technology advancing, they can accommodate 50 dogs in their laboratory. The company continues to research on cloning other animals and according to their website, they are already planning on developing ways in cloning actual human beings.
The future is definitely now. (Although we are not sure is we are all ready for human cloning.)
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