Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cloning Goes Commercial

The first adult animal to be cloned was Dolly the sheep.   At the time (1997) the event was seen as a remarkable technological feat, of importance primarily to research biologists.   In the decade that followed other animals were cloned in research laboratories around the world.   Initial success rates were low, but in recent years the techniques have improved to the point that the cloning of adult animals is becoming economically feasible.

For example, a Texas company called Crestview Genetics is now in the business of cloning polo ponies.   Polo is a big sport in many countries, and good polo ponies are in great demand.  According to an article a polo trade journal, a three-month-old clone of a polo pony called Cuartetera sold for $800,000 in Argentina in 2010.  Crestview expects to be able to create up to 30 clones of valuable polo ponies and horses a year. You do the math.

Cloning animals for a profit is likely to become even more commonplace within the next decade.   The most likely candidates, obviously, are animals that are worth a lot to somebody, like prizewinning bulls for breeding cattle; championship dogs; rare or endangered animals; even beloved pets. How much would you be willing to pay to have your pet cloned?

No comments: