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First clones kitten in China by Sinogene
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First Cloned Kitten in China by Sinogene – Garlic

Recently, a businessman in China – Huang Yu hired a biotechnology company named Sinogene to produce a clone of his pet cat. Sinogene is well known for providing dog cloning services but now thanks to Garlic that it can also cater to kitten cloning market. It is considered to be the first cloned kitten in China.

The cloned cat was born on 21st July and will remain in Sinogene’s lab for a few months to assess its proper growth. You will be amazed to know that Sinogene has become the first company in china to create a genetically identical cat. It charged around US$ 35,400 to generate the clone – ‘Garlic’.

How Sinogene Cloned Garlic –The Kitten?

In order to clone the cat (Garlic), the team of scientist at Sinogene first collected the skin cells from a donor cat. The scientist then used these cells and eggs harvested from the cats to produce embryos. It is reported that around 40 cloned embryos of the cats were generated which were then introduced into the surrogate cats. Though it was noticed that few of the pregnancies end up into miscarriages, Garlic was born successfully upon transfer of the embryo to the surrogate mother. 

Is The Cloned Cat Similar To Original?

Though genetically, the cloned cat – Garlic is similar to the original cat, there are certain features like its eye color and fur which differentiates it slightly from that of the original Garlic. Moreover, it also lacks a unique mark on its chin which was originally present. 

First Cloned Kitten in China by Sinogene – Garlic
Cloned Kitten -Garlic
Credit – NYTimes

Other Projects By Sinogene

Apart from cloning Garlic, the biotechnology company Sinogene has also cloned a puppy named as Kunxun early this year. The amazing part is that the clone was bred from the DNA of Huahuangma, a police sniffer dog which has won many awards. 

What Is Cloning?

Cloning is a method of generating a genetically identical copy of a biological organism. The process of cloning occurs both naturally and artificially. For example, the asexual reproduction in plants to generate the genetically identical copies of offspring is a natural cloning process. Other similar examples are single-cell organism such as bacteria. 

Natural cloning process also occurs in human and animals to produce twins. Here, the fertilized egg splits to create embryos with identical genetic information. The twins thus produced will be genetically identical to each other but not necessarily to their parents. Artificial cloning is a process wherein the clones are created under laboratory conditions by scientist and researchers. 

Is cloning an organism right?

The answer to this is quite debatable. Though the technique of cloning has been introduced long back, the ethical issues associated with it are still into consideration. To an extent, its application has been extended while in some cases it is restricted. Saying whether cloning is right or not is a difficult question to answer because it has both its pros and cons. On one side, where it can be used to delete harmful gene to give someone a better life or help a sterile couple enjoy parenthood, on another side, it can conflict with someone’s identity, affect someone’s religious or societal values. Scientific developments are very crucial to unravel the hidden secret of the world we are living in but it should also align with the ethical consideration. 

Way Ahead

Biotechnology Company like Sinogene has been in animal cloning for long and has set milestones to cater wide market. The increasing demand for animal cloning highlights the importance of cloning and its rising need. It is reported that in future Sinogene looks forward to using artificial intelligence to transfer the memories from the original animal into their clones. If this happens, it will completely revolutionize the cloning process, till then let’s wait for its future development.

Share your views about cloning and ethical issues associated with it.

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