A Boca Raton, Florida, couple paid a California firm $155,000 to clone their Labrador retriever, Sir Lancelot, who died a year ago due to cancer. Lou Hawthorne, a chairman of biotechnology company BioArts International, hand-delivered the 10-week-old puppy to his owners earlier this week.
Edgar and Nina Otto first began to consider cloning Sir Lancelot approximately five years ago.
"I said 'Well, you know, it wouldn't hurt to have his DNA frozen,' and that's what we did," Nina Otto explained.
After being one of five families to bid and win a BioArts auction for an opportunity to clone their dog, the Ottos got the chance to put their departed Labrador’s DNA to use. The DNA sample was sent to the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea, a cloning-service provider to BioArts. Researchers then moved the DNA again, only this time into an egg. BioArts reports November 18, as the day that Lancey was born. Ten weeks later, the Ottos became the first of six BioArts clients to obtain their clone.
Lancey is surrounded by nine other dogs at the Otto household, which has held several dogs in the past, as well. Somehow, Sir Lancelot managed to stand out among the others. He was a “prince among dogs,” as Edgar Otto called him.
"Sir Lancelot was the most human of any dog we've ever had," Edgar Otto said. “[Sir Lancelot ] was a very, very, very special dog to us. And we've given a lot more to the Humane Society than we've ever spent on this project."
The Humane Society of the United States, on the other hand, does not agree with the commercial cloning of animals.
The organization’s Website explains, "Given the current pet overpopulation problem, which costs millions of animals their lives and millions in public tax dollars each year, the cloning of pets has no social value and in fact may lead to increased animal suffering...For those looking to replace a lost pet, cloning will not create an animal identical to the one who is gone; cloning cannot replicate an animal's uniqueness. Cloning can only replicate the pet's genetics, which influence but do not determine his physical attributes or personality."
As for the Ottos, the replication of their beloved, departed dog’s genetics is enough. Edgar Otto explained that he understands Lancey might differ from Sir Lancelot, and he added, "If he's different, we're not going to love him any less."
Edgar Otto is the son of the late Edwin Otto, a “motorsports pioneer,” who held a role in NASCAR’s founding, according to www.ottomotorsports.com.
quote: "If he's different, we're not going to love him any less."
quote: That was the first thing that occured to me, too. However, it'd be interesting if it DOESN'T have cancer through its lifetime, indicating the cancer was not genetically induced. These are the types of studies that should be conducted on cloned animals so they can begin to research screening out the 'bad' traits in genes.
quote: A genetic clone of a dog that died from cancer..that seems brilliant. $155,000 to clone a dog that is geneticly prone to cancer..
quote: The problem is that they have some expectation that the clone is going to be "just like" their dead pet - i.e. have the same temperment, mannerisims, character, etc.
quote: Edgar Otto explained that he understands Lancey might differ from Sir Lancelot, and he added, "If he's different, we're not going to love him any less."
quote: My point is that, great, so they have $155k to throw away. You know what? Give it to the Humane Society again. Or to Goodwill. Or...practically anything. Give that enormous amount of money to someone who will benefit from it, because I can't get over how shameful it is to spend $155k on a puppy. Yes, that really irritates me.
quote: I think that any yellow lab puppy is going to be "similar" to the old one. On top of that, there will be a placebo effect anyway...they'll likely convince themselves that the new dog mimics the old one much more than it actually does.
quote: Well the glaring problem with your "religious" argument is the definition of the word soul.
quote: The definition, like many other words (see sheol for a classic example), was distorted by religious racketeering fear mongers as a measure of control. They wanted you to believe you had a seperate immortal "soul" that would reap consequences depending on wether you behaved and believed the way they told you.
quote: So why didn't you tell him what the original definition was? Would it be perhaps because then you wouldn't have a leg to stand on?
quote: In any case your critisism was based on false understandings of biblical theology. You used his appearent misunderstanding of biblical terminology to support your falacious arguement. When you say things like 'retribution for sin is just a myth created to scare people' you reveal the fact that you are either utterly clueless with regard Judeo-Christian teaching, or you are a deliberate fraud.
quote: The Humane Society of the United States, on the other hand, does not agree with the commercial cloning of animals.