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The Risks To Owners
The potential for consumer fraud is also an issue. Clones tend to be ordered by people who are grieving loss of a much-loved pet and who may have unrealistically high expectations of their clones. Although they share identical genetic profiles, clones do not always resemble originals because coat patterns are not strictly genetically determined. Personalities and behavior patterns are even less predictable on basis of genetics alone. All personalities are products of some basic genetics, and environment in which animal is raised and, since a particular environment can never be perfectly recreated (there's always a random element) personalities will, most likely, be different as well in any clone. "Consumers are likely under impression that a clone is a carbon copy. We believe they are being misled," AAVS policy analyst Crystal Miller-Spiegel said.
David Magnus, director of Stanford University's Center for Biomedical Ethics, spoke more bluntly. "People are not getting what they think they're getting," Magnus said. "This is a $50,000 rip-off."
There is certainly a war of words beginning between cloning businesses and AAVS. It's likely to become a more contentious issue as there's potentially a lot of money to be made (at $50,000 per kitten) and companies may see AAVS's concerns as hurting those potential profits. It's going to be a case of "Watch This Space".
Personally, however, cloning is one option I'm not in favor of but it might be for you if you're looking at replacing a pet that's died. As I mentioned above, clone may look identical to your lost companion but personality will likely be different. That's not to say personality will be better or worse, just different. Look at it this way - how many sets of identical twins have same personalities despite having same genetic make-up and being raised in same environment? There are always random factors involved. Every personality is unique and passes by this way only once.
If you find yourself in a position where you would consider cloning to be an option that will help you cope with death of your cat, you should do some background reading first. The National Geographic have a news item on pet cloning and some people's reaction to it.
Gary Nugent, a software engineer by profession, has been a life-long animal lover, especially of cats and is the webmaster of http://www.cat-oholics.com - a site that helps you make the best choices to keep your cat healthy, happy and long-lived. Why not sign up for the Moggy Morsels newsletter and keep up to date with feline happenings?