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Copy kitten

18 February 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 145

Scientists in Texas, US, announced last week that they have successfully cloned a domestic cat. Mark Westhusin and his colleagues at the Texas A&M University report the process in the 21 February issue of Nature.

The kitten, called 'Cc', for carbon copy, is now two months old and appears to be healthy and developing normally. She was cloned using the nuclear transfer process used to create Dolly the sheep. An egg was stripped of its nucleus, which was then replaced with the nucleus of a cell taken from Rainbow, a female tortoiseshell cat. The egg was tricked into believing fertilisation had taken place and the resulting embryo was transplanted to a surrogate.

Cc is not, however, identical to Rainbow, although tests have confirmed that they have the same genetic make-up. The colours in her coat suggest she is a clone, but her pattern differs from that of Rainbow. This is because the patterns that cats develop on their coats are not wholly genetically determined, but depend on other factors during early development.

Cc is the only kitten resulting from 87 embryos originally created. This figure is said to be comparable to the success rates of cloning in other animals. It is believed that if the technique can be improved, pet cloning may one day become a realistic option. The research was, in part, funded by an American company that hopes, in the future, to provide commercial pet cloning services. Whilst the development has been welcomed by some, including those who believe the technology will be useful in the preservation of endangered species or socially valuable animals such as rescue dogs, others who are concerned with animal welfare do not welcome the idea, especially if it brings the possibility of commercial pet cloning closer.

First cloned kitten - but it's not an exact copycat
The Guardian |  15 February 2002
First pet clone is a cat
BBC News Online |  15 February 2002
Here kitty, kitty
The Daily Telegraph |  16 February 2002
What is warm and fuzzy forever? With cloning, Kitty
The New York Times |  15 February 2002
15 October 2006 - by Laura Goodall 
By Laura Goodall: A US business specialising in cloning pets is closing its doors. Genetic Savings and Clone, a biotechnology company based at Sausalito in California, has announced to its customers that it will no longer be open for business at the end of this year. In letters to its...
5 August 2005 - by BioNews 
After much patience and perseverance, dogs can now officially be added to the list of animals, including sheep, cats and horses, that have been successfully cloned. Researchers in South Korea led by Professor Woo Suk Hwang - the team that created the world's first cloned human embryos - have cloned an Afghan...
10 January 2005 - by BioNews 
An American woman has become the first owner of a commercially cloned pet. Julie, an airline worker from Dallas, paid $50,000 to a Californian company to clone her pet cat Nicky, who died last year aged 17. Little Nicky, as the new kitten has been named, was born last October...
9 August 2004 - by BioNews 
Two cloned kittens have been born using a new, safer cloning technique, an American biotechnology company says. Genetics Saving and Clone cloned Tabouleh and Baba Ganoush from 'Tahini', a female Bengal cat belonging to Lou Hawthorne, the Chief Executive Officer of the company. The kittens are not the first to...
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