Mill Valley, CA (RushPRnews) 12/06/08 — One year ago today, Lou Hawthorne got a call from a biotech lab in Korea. He was told that he was now the proud owner of the very first clone of a pet dog, his beloved family mutt, Missy. â€œI was very excited – and when I went to pick her up 3 months later, I was blown away by the similarities between the clone and the original.”
Mira enjoys going for walks, snuggling with her family on the couch, and playing with other dogs. She also begs for scraps and barks when she shouldn’t “We’re working on that,” said Hawthorne. The only thing that’s really different about Mira is what remains the same: Her genetic makeup is an exact copy of Missyâ€™s, as confirmed by the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab.
Indeed Mira has many of Missyâ€™s traits, states Hawthorne. â€œNot only does she bear a striking resemblance to Missy, but her coat feels the same, and she has some of the same quirks that made Missy unique â€“ like her love of broccoli and her tendency to steal my socks.â€
Hawthorne began the journey to clone Missy in 1997, and launched Genetic Savings and Clone (GSC) in 2000, intending to offer commercial cat and dog cloning to the general public. Despite cloning numerous cats and significantly advancing the science of cloning, GSC was unable to clone Missy and closed its doors in 2006. Hawthorne continued his quest, and in 2007 formed BioArts International, partnering with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a premier laboratory in Korea headed by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang, whose team at Seoul National University cloned the world’s first dog in 2005.
Following the successful cloning of Missy – not once but four times – BioArts announced an international dog-cloning auction called Best Friends Again, which sold all 5 available cloning slots in July, raising over $700,000 USD. â€œThe first client clones have now been born; their owners are ecstatic. Itâ€™s really a dream come true for dog lovers,â€œ says Hawthorne. â€œLiving with a cloned dog is a bit surreal, but it’s also great fun. Mira and her younger cloned sisters are celebrities at the dog park!â€
BioArts International has been granted the sole, worldwide license for the cloning of dogs, cats and endangered species. This exclusive license was granted by Start Licensing, Inc. and applies to the SCNT cloning patents developed at the Roslin Institute for Dolly the sheep, the first cloned adult mammal.
For more information on the Best Friends Again auction go to www.bestfriendsagain.com . For more information on BioArts International, go to www.bioarts.com.