Juice – or Guozhi in Mandarin – who is regarded as one of the most famous dogs in showbusiness after starring in several movies and television productions, was just cloned by his owner.
Beijing-based animal trainer, and Juice’s owner, He Jun, wanted his dog to live on despite its growing age. He found the solution to this problem was to clone the mutt with the help of Sinogene, China’s first ever biotech company, according to Reuters.
“Juice himself is a piece of intellectual property with social influence,” He told media.
Sinogene, just a month after its massive success in cloning a beagle last May, started offering a commercial cloning service that costs at least 380,000 yuan ($55,098).
The Chinese company was able to clone Juice successfully by taking skin samples from the dog’s lower abdomen. Weeks after the procedure, Sinogene was able isolate Juice’s DNA and fertilize an egg that was later injected into a surrogate female dog.
Then, in mid-September, “Little Juice” (Zhizhi in Chinese) was born. The puppy stayed with the surrogate mother for about a month before it was given to He and Juice.
After seeing the puppy, He said he sees great potential in the little pooch, possibly even more than the original Juice, who was found on the streets.
“We believe he’ll be even better than the older Juice,” the trainer said.
Sinogene’s CEO, Mi Jidong, told the media that the company has plans to expand its services to gene editing while admitting that the cloning business is still in its initial stages.
“We’ve discovered that more and more pet owners want their pets to accompany them for an even longer period of time,” Mi said.
Manipulating life, specifically gene editing, has become a hot topic in China recently. He Jiankui, a Chinese professor from the Southern University of Science and Technology, was made to apologize in front of his peers for a highly controversial gene-edited baby experiment.
Tin-Lap Lee, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the media that the Chinese government still has no law that explicitly covers animal cloning.
“On the government side, the image of this cloning industry is very high-tech, and definitely… is very supportive of those high-tech industries because of their high-profit margin,” Lee said.
Featured image via xuehua