It started with Dolly the sheep but where will it end?
Dolly was the first animal cloned in 1996. Now the first British dog has been cloned by a South Korean company which seems a little insensitive, seeing as they eat dogs in South Korea.
This one has been named Mini Winnie and is a dachshund clone of the 12-year pet of Rebecca Smith of London.
Rebecca said: “My sausage dog is very special but she is 12 and not going to be around forever. My boyfriend always joked ‘we need to get her cloned.’”
Now she has been, although the price of £60,000 puts the procedure out of all except the wealthy, spoilt and daft.
Rebecca had her pet cloned because the company, Sooam Biotech, wanted to raise the awareness of the service they offered in dog loving UK.
They held a competition for a suitable animal and Rebecca won. A sample of skin tissue was taken from Winnie and Mini Winnie was created in a laboratory in South Korea, where they have been cloning dogs since 2005.
The story was told in a programme screened on Channel 4.
A spokesman for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said: “It’s understandable that people fantasise about replicating an adored dog but cloning can only replicate genetic material.
“Cloned animals will develop different personalities but we can give living animals, that are in desperate need, a chance at a happy life.”
Which seems a much more sensible, moral and affordable, way of having a pet.
Cloning is restricted by legislation around the world, although some countries are more lax than others. But give it a few years of perfecting the technique on animals and I wouldn’t be surprised if some laboratory beyond the bounds of UN protocol offered human cloning.
Some billionaire with an ego the size of the Grand Canyon will no doubt be eager to buy immortality, but I can think of nothing worse than having myself cloned. One of me is enough, thank you very much.
Think of the trouble you could get into if there were two of you.
“Who was that blonde you were with in the pub on Thursday?”
“That wasn’t me, love. That must have been my clone.”
Think of the excuses you could make.
To get around the ethics of creating a human being, rather than leaving it to God and nature, perhaps scientists will opt for a different tack.
They might produce an exact replica, but with a computer on board rather than a brain and a soul, and market it as the perfect android.
Of course, no-one would want a replica of a short, ugly, old geezer – or even me – but the beautiful people of the world would be in demand to contribute cells with which to create a whole new range of desirable luxury accessories.
Buy a Brad Pitt android! Be the envy of your friends! Socialise with him at your side! When not in use, makes a perfect lampstand!
You should be so lucky? Get your own Kylie now! Comes complete with Greatest Hits CD!
Collect One Direction! Buy four and get Harry (left) free!
I’ll pass on the last offer.
All very fanciful, but you never know just what Mini Winnie has started.
Especially for people with more money than sense.
My confession that I had shed my thermal vest in celebration of the start of summer brought a vigorous response from as far afield as Ireland and America with most reminding me of the old saying ne’er cast a clout until May is out.
After all, I did recall that Huddersfield has experienced snow in May before now.
Allen Jenkinson warned: “A number of years back I was in the Isle of Man for the TT and a whole day’s racing had to be postponed because of snow – in June.
“It was the start of summer and a gang of us were snowball fighting on the prom in Douglas.”
Sylvia Gledhill said: “Glad to hear you have cast off your thermals but is it too soon?
“The old saying refers to the May blossom, not the month of May, which is the blossom of the hawthorn bush. They usually flower late April to early May but, with the present climate, you may find one in flower now.
“If not, don your thermals and liberty bodice for a little while longer.”
Jeanne Brown warned: “I am 57 and remember snow on my birthday twice after May and May blossoms so one never knows.”
Susan Dicks added: “My mother taught at a small school in Southowram in her youth.
“Some of the children from the outlying homesteads were actually sewn into liberty bodices, old corsets etc for the winter!
The hawthorn is very green but no sign of blossom so far.”
I have been warned and have taken to carrying a spare thermal vest whenever I leave the house. Just in case.
As the fervour builds for the Tour de France section that will hurtle through the Huddersfield area, reader Robert Stuart Donaldson poses a very pertinent question :
“Do the Tour cyclists have to use the cycle lane between Berry Brow and Honley?”
It’s best to get these details decided early as we don’t want competitors getting disqualified for riding out of lane or getting knocked down by a bus.
Personally, I’m only sorry that the organisers didn’t take the opportunity to detour the race through Paris, Scholes, although they may not have wanted the possible confusion that might have caused as the race traditionally ends in the French capital.
“Zut alors, Pierre! Quelle surprise! We are in Paris already. The race is over. Quick, get in the queue at the chippy.
“I’ll have poisson, frites et puree de pois. Wi’ bits.”