Peter Onruang’s beloved dogs, Wolfie and Bubble, passed away. Before their passing, Onruang learned of a way to keep his memory of them alive.
Scientists at the South Korean laboratory told him what he needed to do. When Wolfie and Bubble died, instead of putting their bodies in the freezer, he wrapped them in wet towels and placed them in the refrigerator. This gave him five days to take them to the lab and have the scientists extract the cells needed to clone them. After that, Onruang brought Wolfie and Bubble’s remains home to be buried.
He would always visit their graves.
“When I’m there, I say, ‘Hi, I’m making a new body for you,'” he told TLC in a TV series on the subject called “I Cloned My Pet.”
Three years later, Onruangbrought two new versions of his beloved deceased dogs home – Wolfie Bear and Girl 2.0, and Bubble Face and Rubble 2.0.
He posted on a Facebook page he created for them: “Am I Happy? More than I could ever possibly imagine after getting my heart broken from Wolfie and Bubbles death. All those that said I would be disappointed were all wrong.”
“I do still miss the original Wolfie and Bubble and nothing could ever replace them,” Onruangsaid. “But these clones have come very close. I think of these clones mostly as their offspring.”
How does dog cloning work?
Today, you can pay to have your own dog duplicated using the same methods scientists used to make Dolly.
It sounds easy but there’s a catch. Aside from the whole ethical dilemma of incubating your recently dead pet’s cells inside a random puppy, it costs around $100,000. Also, there’s only one lab in the world that does it.
The scientists at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation laboratory in South Korea do exactly what researchers did to make Dolly.
First, they take a few cells from your pet and put their DNA to sleep. They use a tiny straw-like device and suck up the dormant cell. Then, they inject it inside another dog cell that has been emptied of its nucleus. After that, the scientists zap the new cell with electricity, encouraging the two parts to fuse into one cell. Once they are sure that the new cell “works,” the scientists implant it inside a surrogate mother dog.
If all goes well, the surrogate dog will give birth to a puppy that looks just like yours. But your “revived” pooch and deceased dog won’t be exactly identical.
“When thinking of cloning, try to think of an identical twin,” Sooam biologist Insung Hwang told The Guardian. “The dog will not be 100% the same — the spots on a Dalmatian clone will be different, for example — but for breeds without such characteristics it will be very hard to tell them apart.”
Dog cloning is a controversial practice
In 2005, the Lab won international acclaim for cloning the world’s first dog. After that, Sooam founder and vet Woo Suk Hwang was publicly shamed for falsifying research on human embryo cloning. Hwang was expelled from Seoul National University and is still facing criminal charges.
Despite the issue, Hwang’s supporters helped to gather more than $3.5 million to help him start Sooam in 2006. Since then, the lab has cloned more than 400 dogs. In their years of experience, Sooam researchers have picked up their pace, producing about 15 puppies a month.
Beyond Dog Cloning
Geneticist George Church and Sooam biologist Insung Hwang, for example, are exploring the possibility of cloning long-extinct animals back to life using their DNA samples.
Church and Hwang are part of a team of researchers who autopsied the body of a woolly mammoth who lived about 40,000 years ago. The creature’s blood was surprisingly well preserved, along with her body, in Siberia. The autopsy is shown in detail in a recent Smithsonian documentary called “How To Clone A Woolly Mammoth.”
Hwang hopes the mammoth carcass will hold enough DNA to let them to clone Buttercup. The mammoth’s blood may be preserved but all of the cells inside were destroyed over time. This means that instead of being able to make a replica of Buttercup, the researchers would likely end up making a hybrid version of mammoth and its closest living relative, the Asian elephant.
“It gives you hope that one day you’re going to be able to see the mammal again,” says Hwang.
What do you think?
Would you clone your Labrador?
Source: Business Insider