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Copy-cat scientists create China's first cloned kitty

"Garlic" the cat is identical to the original
© PDcChina - Twitter

A Chinese biotech company has reportedly cloned a dead cat, and it looks like a "paw-fect" match of the original feline. 
 

By Ashley Murphy, 25 Aug 2019

Sinogene Biotechnology Company began experimenting with cloning techniques in August 2018 and 'Garlic' the copy-cat kitty was born in Beijing just a few days ago.

The second-coming of "Garlic" the cat

The super cute British shorthair came into the world through a surrogate mum after scientist inserted an embryo containing cells from the original 'Garlic.' 

Garlic the 1st belonged to Chinese cat fanatic Huang Yu, who couldn't bear the idea of living without his beloved kitty. He said:

"My cat died of urinary tract disease. I decided to clone him because he was so special and unforgettable."

Following the success of the procedure,  Sinogene Biotechnology will now offer cat cloning services to the Chinese public. But cat lovers will need some very deep pockets - the cost of bringing their kitties back to life is 250,000 yuan - around £29,000!

Deputy general manager Zhao Jianping claims that cloned moggies are perfectly healthy and have the same life expectancy as their originals. However, anyone expecting an identical cat may be disappointed. Clones might look the same as your old pet, but scientist can't replicate personality traits or behaviour - or at least not yet!

Hundred of owners have signed up for the service, although not everybody is a fan. Cloning raises some complicated ethical questions and has received harsh criticism from some animal welfare groups.

The ethics of being a copy cat

Gilly Stoddart is PETA's Head of Science. She said: 

"Cloning is a cruel scam that creates not a carbon copy of the animal you loved but an animal who has only the physical characteristics of the original, not his or her unique personality."

"Cloning experiments have harmed and killed countless animals in a vain and unsuccessful quest to replicate the very traits and essence of a living being that can't be replicated."

It looks like this debate will continue for some time. Meanwhile, as long as owners are willing to stump up the cash, these high-tech companies will continue to clone their pets.