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Scientist warns against cloning pets

Press AssociationPress Association 5/07/2016

Anyone tempted to have their beloved pet cloned should think again, according to the scientist who created Dolly the sheep.

Even a genetically identical dog or cat would probably be disappointingly different from its original counterpart, claims Professor Sir Ian Wilmut.

"Before they start they should recognise that it won't be the same," he said.

"I have a dog. If we had a clone which had been brought up under different circumstances, its personality would be different, apart from anything else."

Cloning could not be guaranteed to produce a carbon copy even in terms of appearance, he added.

His dog was a "tri-coloured" Cavalier King Charles spaniel which was "white, brown and gingery".

"If she was cloned almost certainly that coat pattern will be different, even if it was a genetically identical twin, because it all depends on movement of cells during foetal development," said Sir Ian.

"In appearance and certainly personality it's very likely to be different."

On a superficial level, a new animal bought from a pet shop was probably going to be as good a match for a lost companion as a clone, the professor added.

Sir Ian led the team that created Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute 20 years ago on July 5 1996.

Britain's first cloned dog, a dachshund named "mini-Winnie", hit the headlines in 2014.

She was copied from her "mother", a 12-year-old dachshund nearing the end of her life, by scientists in South Korea.

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