Dead Dog Cloned for $155,000

When a couple’s dog, Lancelot, died due to cancer, they decided to participate in an auction which took place in Northern California’s Biotech firm, BioArts International. The highest bidder would participate in the ”Best Friends Again” project, in which conventional methods are used to develop clones of dogs. $155,000 was all it took for the couple to be presented with "Lancelot Encore", the cloned version of their dog. The couple reports that Encore fit in with the other animals in a matter of hours, bears great resemblance to Lancelot, and displays similar behaviour patterns.

This service, although expensive for the time being, bears great resemblance to the business ”RePet” portrayed in action movie ”The 6th Day” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, where pets were cloned in case they passed away. Controversially, it was suggested in the film, that if this technology existed, there also existed the capability to clone humans after birth. The problem with correlating this to real life, however, is that the accelerated growth techniques required to obtain an effectively cloned mature human, and a means of imaging and reproducing the brain exactly to retain memories, experience and knowledge cannot be obtained under our current technological circumstances. The couple’s cloned dog, Encore, does not have any memories of the host, Lancelot, from which the genes were provided.

We should, however, acknowledge that Science is evolving such that the situation is reduced to a simple matter of time. Complete imaging of the brain and reproduction of the image in new client bodies accelerated in growth is a conquerable challenge, which once achieved, will potentially prevent the need for death to result in a loss of life. At present, the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 governs the development of research in this field at the moment, and licences to perform experiments are distributed with discretion in order to comply with public policy.

It will be interesting to witness how the English Legal System handles the ethical issues pressure groups may raise when this technology and theory becomes available to us.

Alex Kara

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About Alexander Karapetian

Software Engineer & Computer Scientist from Imperial College.
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