Cloned Cats Aren't Necessarily Copies
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Rainbow the cat is a typical calico with splotches of brown, tan and gold on white. Cc, her clone, has a striped gray coat over white. Rainbow is reserved. Cc is curious and playful. Rainbow is chunky. Cc is sleek. [...]
Cc's creation was funded by Genetic Savings & Clone, a company that hopes to make money from people's desires to duplicate their favorite pets. Last February, in the journal Nature, the A&M researchers published details of the project and DNA test results that showed cc was a clone. [...]
There is a demand from dog lovers, but scientists so far have been unable to clone a canine. In fact, cc's creation was the result of a dog lover, not a cat lover. University of Phoenix founder John Sperling wanted a duplicate of his collie mix, Missy. With his $3.7 million, Texas A&M launched the "Missyplicity" project over four years ago. Now, Missy is dead, euthanized last year because of an inoperable growth on her esophagus. Sperling has redirected his funding to the Sausalito, Calif.-based Genetic Savings & Clone, which he hopes will one day deliver a clone of Missy. [...]
As for cc, the Texas scientists say she has shown no signs of genetic defects. "She's been perfectly healthy and perfectly a cat ever since her birth," Kraemer said. "That's true of all our clones. You'd have to be told they were cloned in order to know" they weren't conceived the natural way.
Even so, cc has been protected by a sterile environment, a precaution to make sure she is healthy; visitors are not allowed to pet her. That will change gradually when she moves into her new home with Kraemer and his wife, Shirley. The Kraemers will introduce her slowly, first exposing her to people who have cats before letting her cavort with their other two felines. [...]
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