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Cloned cat turns out to be a live ringer

Dec. 23, 2004 at 12:58 PM

DALLAS, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The first commercially cloned housecat appears and behaves exactly as its late cell donor, the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

For $50,000, a Dallas-area woman identified only as Julie received her copy-cat kitten Dec. 10 from Genetic Savings & Clone of California.

The company took a tissue sample from Julie's late 17-year-old beloved Maine Coon cat named Nicky, and "produced" a clone over about a 6-month period.

"I see absolutely no differences between Little Nicky and Nicky," Julie said. "When Little Nicky yawned, I even saw two spots inside his mouth, just like Nicky had."

This year, Genetic Savings & Clone launched its "Nine Lives Extravaganza," offering clients the chance to clone their cats. Five feline lovers signed up this year, company spokesman Ben Carlson said, adding the other four are in various stages of "production."

However, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, was critical of the process, saying cloned animals often have physical abnormalities and aren't likely to live as long.

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