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Bengal cat is cloned using new, safer technique

9 August 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 270

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 be born from cloning: Cc, the cloned kitten, was born in 2002.

The company used a method called chromatin transfer, rather than the more usual method of nuclear transfer, the technique that was used to create Dolly the sheep. Nuclear transfer involves taking the nucleus, which contains the DNA, from a cell, and transferring it to an egg that has had its own nucleus removed. When stimulated, the egg is 'tricked' into developing as if it had been fertilised. The method is not very effective: many eggs fail to develop and there have been some serious side effects in some animals that have been born using the technique.

Chromatin transfer, by contrast, aims to create an embryo that more closely resembles a normal embryo. The technique involves dissolving the outside of the nucleus in the cell to be cloned and removing some chromosomal proteins that regulate development, and other proteins around the chromosomes. The resulting cell, with its 'permeable' nucleus, is then fused with an egg cell. The method is used frequently in cattle cloning.

The cat cloning technique has not been submitted for peer review in a scientific journal, but Genetics Saving and Clone says it is less interested in the scientific questions and medical implications of cloning than in its business model - cloning people's pets. The company says it has already contracted to produce five more cat clones for customers by the end of 2004, at $50,000 a piece. It also hopes to have perfected dog cloning by the same time.

$10 million Bengal kittens pave way for pet cloning
San Francisco Chronicle |  6 August 2004
At play with firm's clone kittens
BBC News Online |  9 August 2004
Company says it clones copy cats
Yahoo Daily News |  5 August 2004
Refined cloning gets whisker-close
USA Today |  5 August 2004
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...
18 February 2002 - by BioNews 
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...
18 February 2002 - by Juliet Tizzard 
As we report in this week's BioNews, scientists in the United States have cloned a cat. Carbon copy (Cc), as the little creature is known, has caused rather a lot of excitement on both sides of the Atlantic, with many column inches being dedicated to the development. Some commentators have...
21 February 2000 - by BioNews 
Texas-based company, Genetics Savings and Clone, is offering bereaved animal-lovers the chance to 'reincarnate' their dead pets. For a mere $2,500, the firm will take cells from a dead or dying animal and store them until they can be cloned. 'It's a major scientific challenge, but the team is 90...
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