Science and Medicine

Cloning of pets: will we ever be able to transfer even memories?

26 August 2019 | Written by La redazione

If, as far as the appearance is concerned, science allows us to create faithful copies of the original, in terms of memories and personality we still do not have solutions. At the moment.

On August 26th is celebrated World Dog Day, the four-legged friend with whom each owner creates an indissoluble emotional bond. The average life of this faithful companion, however, is much lower than ours and the owners dream of a way to avoid the suffering of saying goodbye to their beloved animal forever. If, on the one hand, the idea of ​​a robot dog does not seem to convince, on the other hand, some people have resorted to cloning to get their dog back. What will be the next step? Give the new puppy personality and memories of the original: a Chinese company promises to study a solution.


The “recipe” for a clone. From the scientific and technical point of view, to clone a dog it is first necessary to take tissue samples from the original dog. Afterward, it is necessary to isolate and then cultivate the somatic cells of the animal that we want to reproduce, extract an egg from a female dog in heat, remove the nucleus from the egg and replace it with the genetic material of the dog that we want to recreate. At this point, it is necessary to implant the egg in another dog, the one that in effect becomes a surrogate mother, who are given hormones to carry on the pregnancy. If the conditions are good, the egg grows, leading to the birth of the puppy clone. The success of the intervention is not obvious despite the progress made by science, which is why it may take several attempts to get to the dog’s birth.


Cloning of animals, between science and ethics. A procedure that works from the scientific point of view but that leaves many questions on an ethical level. Is it correct to subject dogs to this treatment, which is certainly invasive? Furthermore, cloned dogs often have a shorter life than others: even in light of this, wouldn’t it be better to give a home to the many abandoned puppies? Despite these perplexities there are many people who use this technique: among them also the actress and singer Barbra Streisand, whose case created a certain sensation a few years ago. But if from the appearance point of view, excellent results are obtained, with what we could call twins of the original dogs, the situation changes when we enter the sphere of personality: the character of the animal depends on many factors and, however much aesthetically similar, the clones are actually new puppies. But someone could soon work on this aspect too.


Implanting memories. The Chinese company Sinogene Biotechnology Company has announced that it is thinking of a solution to implant the memories of the original animal in the clone. According to the Global Times, the general manager of the company would have communicated during a conference that “the company is considering the use of artificial intelligence or human-machine interface technology to store animal memories and even transfer them to cloned animals”. The article refers to the cloning of cats (brought to the Chinese market by Sinogene Biotechnology Company), but we are certain that, in the case of success of these experiments (still to be verified), the technique would also be applied to other domestic animals, dogs in the lead, leading to great growth in turnover.

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