Re: BIOTECH: First Cloned Cat

From: Chris Hibbert (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 16:52:19 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Chris Hibbert wrote,
> > If you want the clone to look exactly like the original, better start
> > with a breed where the appearance doesn't vary much from individual
> > to individual.
> >
> > Human twins don't have identical fingerprints. It's the same principle.
> I understand this, having minored in biology and having a twin brother
> myself. My point was that people will not be able to use this to duplicate
> their loved pet. The new pet will have a different personality and
> appearance.

I think this doesn't give enough credit to our ability to raise dogs in a
consistent way. (My sources are "How to be Your Dog's Best Friend" by the
Monks of New Skete, and other books.) My impression is that people who raise
pure-bred dogs over long periods of time know how to raise dogs with
relatively consistent personalities to make good pets. They don't know how to
duplicate the upbringing of a random dog, but if you can do a reasonable job
of characterizing the environment of your beloved pet, you can do pretty well.

If you pet is a collie, a german shepherd, or a dachshund (for a few
instances), it's fairly certain that a clone would appear identical. If it's
a beagle or a dalmation, the appearance would be as similar as a litter-mate.

All that said, my dog is a mutt, and we got her at the age of three. The
evidence is pretty pervasive that she had an inconsistent upbringing. I don't
think we could expect to duplicate her personality. (She doesn't like water,
and at the age of ~10 she's getting over her distrust for tall, thin, older
men.) On the other hand, I'd bet a well-raised clone would get along with
kids, and would love to climb and dig and run. Her appearance is regular
enough that I'd expect a clone to look very similar. (She has highlights in
namable places, rather than a variegated pattern.)

I'd also bet an unlimited amount of money that her clone would bark at mailmen
and like to chase squirrels. Why wouldn't these kinds of details be close
enough for many? I'll bet they get a pretty good dog if the missyplicity
project succeeds in producing a healthy clone.


Currently reading:  Matthew Josephson, "The Robber Barons"
	Donald Kingsbury, "Psychohistorical Crisis"
        Harold McGee, "On Food and Cooking"
Chris Hibbert

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