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Is it time to worry about human cloning again?

When Barbra Streisand revealed to Variety magazine that she’d had her dog cloned for $50,000, many people learned for the first time that copying pets and other animals is a real business. That’s right: you can pay to clone a dog, a horse or a top beef bull and get a living copy back in a matter of months. The story that sent shivers up my spine, though, came out a few days later. It was about Monni Must, a Michigan portrait photographer who paid to clone Billy Bean, a Labrador retriever that had belonged to her oldest daughter, Miya. Miya had committed suicide 10 years earlier. To Must, cloning the elderly dog was a way to keep her daughter’s memory alive and, she says, to “protect” her grief. During the cloning procedure, Must received updates, including sonograms of the developing puppy. The timeline seemed full of profound coincidences. Veterinarians detected the clone’s heartbeat on Miya’s birthday, 11 October. The puppy was born in November, the same month Miya killed herself. “It’s a sign. For me, it’s a sign that Miya is involved and aware,” Must told me. Alarm bells went off in my head. Must wasn’t just cloning a pet. She was trying to preserve a lost child. It seemed awfully close to a real human cloning scenario, one in which a heartbroken parent tries to replace a son or daughter who dies early. I shot a question to Jose Cibelli, an animal cloning scientist at Michigan State University: is it time to worry about human cloning again? Cibelli quickly emailed back: “Yes.”

Read More: The Guardian

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