What happened to all of the Groupon clones

Barbra Streisand recently revealed the secret of her two new pets: The puppies are clones of her late dog Samantha. Now a couple from Saxony is making headlines after having an English bulldog cloned in South Korea after it died. An interview with animal geneticist Björn Petersen about a procedure that raises ethical, medical and practical questions.

SZ: Mr. Petersen, what do I have to bring with me to have my dog ​​cloned?

Björn Petersen: You need a piece of skin or connective tissue from your dog. Commercial vendors have kits that make collection easy. The punched-out piece lasts almost indefinitely in nitrogen. You can take the donor cells from the living animal or from the recently deceased animal, both are possible.

Can you explain as simply as possible how to clone a dog?

You basically need two dogs for this. A bit of the male or female dog that you want to clone and a bitch. Egg cells are taken from the bitch and then combined with the genetic material of the dog to be cloned. Then you activate the egg cell with a current pulse so that it almost thinks it is fertilized. It is important to free the dog's egg cell from its DNA beforehand, because the dog's cell already has a double set of chromosomes - this is different from fertilization, where egg cell meets semen and cell division takes place.

Would that also work in Germany?

There is no ban on cloning in Germany, but there are no commercial providers. The cost is rumored to be $ 100,000, so that's only for the rich. Dog cloning is a big thing in South Korea. At the airport in Seoul, for example, they had a really great sniffer dog. They cloned him and now there is a whole bunch of dogs from him.

What about cats?

The first animal to be cloned in 1996 was Dolly the sheep. Over twenty species have now been cloned: pigs, dogs, cats, cows, and recently, for the first time, monkeys. The problem with cat cloning is that you cannot influence the color of the fur, so the new animals often look different from the original.

Will at least the character traits be retained or can it happen that my lap dog becomes a tomboy?

It can happen. You have a puppy who will be born and start over from scratch. Certain character traits are anchored in genetics, but especially with dogs, the upbringing and the environment are also very important.

Doesn't sound very convincing.

As a scientist, I don't see any point in pet cloning. What makes people do that? Probably more of a romantic idea.