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For $50,000 this Texas company will clone your pooch

By: Gene Mark, The Washington Post
November 16, 2017 Updated: November 16, 2017 at 8:35 am
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Photo by Edmund D. Fountain for NPR.

You love your dog. But would you spend $50,000 to clone it? If the answer is yes, then a Texas company is standing by and ready to help.

The veterinarians at Viagen Pets use a propriety process for genetically preserving your pet's DNA and safely maintain it at its cryo-storage facility. Using a donor egg, the company's technicians join it and your pet's previously frozen cells (which are easily taken by any veterinarian from a skin sample - even if your dog is sick or late in life) to produce an embryo. The embryo is then implanted into surrogate animal. The result is an identical genetic twin that's delivered after a normal gestation period. The entire process takes about six-to-seven months.

"People have a hard time wrapping their brain around that it that it is a real technology," Melain Rodriguez, a manager at the company, said in this report on television station web site KDKA.com. "It is not science fiction." Viagen's been doing this for more than 15 years and has successfully cloned thousands of animals including cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and - yes - dogs and cats.

The process isn't cheap. A cloned dog costs $50,000, but cats are done for half the price.

Even at this price, the company reports it has a waiting list - and no, not professional breeders (the American Kennel Club will not register cloned dogs). It's just normal people who desperately love their pets and are willing to pay just about anything to keep them - or a cloned version of them - still around. "Pets' lives are very short compared to ours," Rodriguez told KDKA, "so if you can clone that pet and have another one that is very similar, it's very rewarding."

Rodriguez assures us that your cloned pet will not be a Frankenstein. It will be "just a normal dog like any other dog. You would never know that he's a cloned puppy." Well, yeah but can't my cloned dog at least know not to pee on the sofa like my dog does now? If so, then sign me up.

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