A question we are commonly asked is, will cloned animals act the same as the original? All animals are the result of G x E (genetics times environment). We know that we can provide you with a genetic match but the environment the original animal was raised in simply cannot be copied. So how much of the “personality” of a puppy, or kitten, or calf is innate and how much is environmental? The answer is that we simply don’t know. It does appear that genetic traits like excellent fertility, milk production, marbling, etc. are seen in the cloned animals as well, but when it comes to personality the story is still unfolding. Allow me to share a few stories and you can be the judge.
- Today, I was walking through the cloned calves and I noticed that three cloned calves, all from the same genetic donor, were playing with their tongues or rolling them as they lounged in the cool shade of the trees in the pasture. It appeared to be an entertaining past time for them, and I wondered “Did their genetic donor do this as well?” After a quick call I learned that indeed, the genetic donor did like to play with her tongue, just like the cloned calves were doing today. Now mind you, they have not yet met each other, but apparently this characteristic is innate and since they all have the same genotype, they are all predisposed to roll their tongue.
- We also talked to a delightful pet client that has a toy poodle. She now has two cloned identical twins as well as the original poodle in the same house. “ViaGen made the cloning process simply amazing. My expectations were many and ViaGen didn’t disappoint! The puppies turned out exactly as I was hoping for. They are identical, goofy, loving, healthy and full of life. The cloned puppies BJ and Ditto are identical. They look so much alike I have to put dye at the end of one tail to tell them apart or have one cut a little shorter than the other. It’s unbelievable how much they look alike.” The original poodle loves to watch TV so she was curious if the genetic twins would do the same. “One likes TV and the other doesn’t care. One is lazy and the other is always on the run. One is scared of a leaf in the yard while the other is fearless. One is a bully and the other is more submissive. Buhner (the original dog) loves BJ and Ditto and is very protective of them. He is more playful now because of them and life couldn’t be better!” Time will tell whether these puppies become more like the original animal the longer they are exposed to his leadership, and the nurturing environment of this home.
- We delivered two little longhorn calves to a client in Texas that had cloned his favorite longhorn male. The original animal is very tame and comes to their house on the ranch for regular grooming. He likes to be brushed. And he likes treats! As the two cloned calves were growing up in Iowa, we learned they too, were very tame and really liked their backs rubbed. After delivery this week, the client introduced the calves to their “mentor”. They immediately took to each other and now run the range together. And yes….they all come to the ranch house for their daily brushing! One of the clones promptly walked up the steps to the house and stood on their porch, waiting for his treat of cubes. And then he walked right down the steps, like he had done it every day of his life. One interesting feature about these calves is that they all “tear up” when the rancher feeds them the range cubes by hand. Sounds to me like they really love their rancher, or maybe it’s the treats, or maybe both!
- A cat client was willing to share her story with us as well. “Waiting for Blue to return home as a new kitten was the hardest part. At the time, it felt like an eternity. But once he was back, it was as if all the waiting was only five minutes. In other words, it felt like I had simply boarded him and now he was back home. On every possible level, the kitten seems like my original cat. But blue is a kitten now. I remember one day, after he’d been home about 2 months, I looked up from my work and Blue did something that was so clearly Blue, that spontaneously I burst out laughing. Kitten Blue rolled his “R’s” just like Blue the original!” “At that moment, I had no doubt that Blue was back. Now I hardly think about how he’s a clone….he’s Blue!”
“Blue continues to remain in my life and that is what matters. I would most definitely repeat this process. This is a gift that gives back each day. There is so much value in cloning your dog or cat. I believe cloning your beloved dog or cat is a most powerful example of where science and spirituality happily and peacefully meet. I also believe at some point, cloning will become the way people honor their dog or cat… by choosing to continue the relationship because the opportunity exists.” (This message approved by Blue).
We have heard many other stories from clients about the characteristics of the cloned animals being the same as the original….even though they never met each other. Is it nature or is it nurture? I am sure we will learn more about this fascinating subject in the years to come. The puppy owner shared a key point, she said, even though the puppies may act slightly different, the important point to her is that “I love that DNA!”
In the meantime, we look forward to hearing your stories about your dog, cat, horse, calf, pig, lamb, or kid and how they are like, or not like, the original animal. Please send your pet stories to ViaGen at https://viagenpets.com/submit-your-viagen-pets-story/or https://www.viagen.com/submit-your-viagen-story/. You can also simply call 1-8888ViaGen for more information on our preservation and cloning programs.