Now your cat really can have nine lives: the first clone-to-order company is in business, and their business will be cloning pets. Any thoughts about the company's questionable ethics are quickly overshadowed by their questionable name, Genetic Savings and Clone, but apparently their technology works: as the BBC reported Monday, their method of using chromatin transfer instead of nuclear transfer has produced two baby kittens that indeed look and act just like their original did at birth. There is still a high risk of genetic defects, but as their CEO puts so chillingly, "these births are the first instance of a consumer grade cloning technology."
The company has already taken orders from customers, and hopes to deliver their first clones by Christmas time.
GSC is the spin-off from the UT "Missyplicity" project from the late 1990s, which pioneered a number of mammal cloning techniques. Missyplicity was funded by a then-anonymous donor who wanted to clone his favorite (but dead) dog, Missy. I seem to recall reading that, oddly enough, the process works much better with cats than with dogs, and Missy remains uncloned.
I'm not sure why that is a chilling statement . . . consumer grade cloning technology sounds like a lot of fun. Kind of like munitions-grade encryption or pharmaceutical-grade heroin. Very late eighties action movie mcGuffin item.