Huang Yu was devastated when his beloved two-and-a-half-year-old kitten Garlic passed away, so he decided to make another.
The heartbroken pet owner enlisted the help of Sinogene, a Bejing-based pet cloning company which has already cloned more than 40 pet dogs, including the world’s first police pup.
It uses somatic cell cloning techniques of animal species to recreate people’s beloved pets, however there’s said to be a number of challenges when it comes to cloning felines.
As per IFL Science, vet Shi Zhensheng said in a statement:
The reproductive and physiological characteristics of cats are different from those of most animals. Because cats are not spontaneous ovulation animals, they are one of the few ovulation-inducing animals.
Their reproductive cycle is special and cloning techniques are difficult. The operation is cumbersome. This successful cultivation of cloned cats is one of the few successful cases in the world, marking China’s major step in the field of cloning.
It took nearly a year of attempts, but eventually, the scientists were able to transfer an embryo to a surrogate cat, who carried the developing kitten for 66 days.
On July 21 of this year, Garlic 2.0, whose genetics are completely derived from the somatic cells of the late Garlic, was born.
Just over a month later, Garlic 2.0 is said to be in a good physical condition and doesn’t seem to act differently to any naturally bred kittens.
However, replicating his female friend came at a pretty hefty price tag for Yu, who paid a whopping 250,000 yuan ($35,000) for the cloned kitten, according to AFP reports.
Yu, who said it was well wort the money, said in an interview with the cloning company:
Its name will continue to be called Garlic because in my heart I have always felt that the cloned kitten is the continuation of its life.
Although he still misses the original Garlic, Yu said knowing Garlic 2.0 is made from the same genes gives him comfort.
I think that the original intention of each owner to clone their pets will be different. Each cat is an independent individual and has his own personality.
It’s worth noting that although Garlic and Garlic 2.0 share the same genes, there’s nothing to suggest the cloned kitten’s personality will be the same. There are also thousands of cats all over the world who already need rehoming.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.