A husband and wife who paid $ 25,000 to clone their beloved cat who had been with them since they were newlyweds, said they never really considered the heavy price tag, they told DailyMailTV exclusively.
Bryan and Ashley Bullerdick, from Charlotte, North Carolina, decided to duplicate their rescue cat Cinnabun when the cat was approaching its 19th birthday.
The couple had hoped that the original cat would meet its genetic twins, but unfortunately it died before the clone, also called Cinnabun, arrived in their home in April 2019.
Incredibly, the new Cinnabun sleeps in exactly the same place where the original Cinnabun slept – directly on Ashley & # 39; s pillow.
Bryan and Ashley Bullerdick, from Charlotte, North Carolina, decided to clone their rescue cat Cinnabun when the cat was approaching its 19th birthday. They paid Texas-based cloning company ViaGen Pets $ 25K to clone Cinnabun in September 2018 before Cinnabun died the following month. The new Cinnabun was born in February 2019 and was delivered to the Bullerdick family in April. Pictured: Ashley with the cloned Cinnabun
Full-time mom Ashley said they would definitely do it again & # 39; because the new Cinnabun is just like & # 39; feisty & # 39; and sleeps exactly in the same place as the original Cinnabun (photo)
Bryan said: & # 39; It's a lot of money, but I know people who always spend it on vacations. This is an animal that we hope will be with us for two decades. Some people have sports cars, some people have houses – we are not on the road to clone every cat we have. & # 39; Pictured: cloned Cinnabun
Bryan, 43, and Ashley, 41, who have three sons, claimed that they even had the incredible cost of cloning their & # 39; special cat & # 39; not even considered.
Bryan, who owns a space division, said: “We never really thought about the costs.
It is a lot of money, but I know people who always spend it on vacation.
& # 39; This was a special cat from when we were newlyweds, our children grew up with the cat, she was important.
& # 39; She slept every night next to my wife's head on the pillow.
& # 39; If we had the chance to get such a & # 39; n cat, we had to try.
& # 39; It's a lot of money, but I know people who always spend it on vacations. This is an animal that we hope will be with us for two decades.
& # 39; Some people have sports cars, some people have houses – we are not on the road to clone every cat we have.
& # 39; It was a decision we could make and we are still donating money every month to the cat rescue organization, the Humane Society. & # 39;
The parents of sons Beau, 17, and twin Carter and Daryl-Von, both 15, have no regrets about cloning their beloved housewife, long-haired cat and would consider cloning again.
Full-time mother Ashley said: & # 39; We would definitely do it again. & # 39;
The couple married in 1999 and started life with two cats, Cinnabun, from the Humane Society and Ginger, a Himalayan bought from a breeder.
Bryan said: & # 39; They were very special to us. They started their lives with us. & # 39;
Bryan and Ashley had the original Cinnabun because they were newlyweds (photo), rescuing Cinnabun, from the Humane Society. Bryan said about Cinnabun and another cat they owned at the time: & # 39; They were very special to us. They started their lives with us & # 39;
Incredibly, the new Cinnabun sleeps in exactly the same place where the original Cinnabun slept – directly on Ashley & # 39; s pillow. Pictured: original Cinnabun (left) and cloned Cinnabun (right)
HOW ARE CATS CLONED?
The process involves obtaining at least two skin samples from a living cat or a cat five days after it has died.
In the next step of cloning, a donor egg is taken from a donor animal.
Eggs are collected from the egg donor via a procedure that & # 39; flushing & # 39; and the nuclei of the eggs, which contain DNA from the egg donor, are removed.
Subsequently, donor cell obtained from the skin sample is then injected into the nucleated egg and the two cells are fused together & # 39;
This fusion procedure produces a cloned embryo that is transferred to a surrogate cat.
The entire process takes less than a day, but comes with a hefty price tag.
Dogs can also be cloned, but it is more expensive because dogs only get into the heat once or twice a year, while the cat's reproductive cycle is much more common.
Cloning a dog costs $ 50,000, while a cat is now $ 35,000 – but ViaGen Pets recently raised the price by $ 10,000 to cover rising costs.
Ginger died at the age of seven, but Bryan was able to track down the cat's father and buy another kitten for $ 2,000.
However, last year the couple became concerned that it was not possible to get another cat in the same bloodline as Cinnabun.
& # 39; We were concerned about how little time we had left with her, & # 39; Bryan said.
The couple first considered cloning after Bryan read an article about pop legend Barbra Streisand who sounded her Maltipoo, Sammie.
Bryan said: & # 39; I didn't know it was possible until I read the article. & # 39;
He shared the idea with Ashley, who was initially uncertain.
She said: & # 39; I was never against it, but it was definitely something I had to think about. & # 39;
In August 2018, Bryan purchased a $ 1,600 DNA kit from the local cloning company ViaGen Pets, the same company that had cloned Streisand's pooch.
ViaGen Pets has cloned horses and animals for 17 years, three and a half years ago they started cloning cats and dogs.
Cloning a dog costs $ 50,000, while a cat now costs $ 35,000 – the company recently raised the price by $ 10,000 to cover the rising costs.
The difference in price is due to the fact that dogs only get into the heat once or twice a year, while a cat's reproductive cycle occurs much more frequently.
Bryan and Ashley's DNA kit languished in the freezer while they discussed.
& # 39; We kept it in our freezer for months while we thought about it, & # 39; Ashley said.
& # 39; Then we just thought we should do it. Cinnabun was so dear to us.
& # 39; She had unique markings that no other cat would have.
& # 39; She clung to me, she slept & # 39; with me at night, with my head on my pillow. She sat by my side all day. & # 39;
Cloning a dog costs $ 50,000, while a cat now costs $ 35,000 – the company recently raised the price by $ 10,000 to cover the rising costs. The difference in price is due to the fact that dogs only get into the heat once or twice a year, while a cat's reproductive cycle occurs much more frequently. Pictured: Cloned Cinnabun in the Charlotte Family House
Bryan and Ashley sent samples and swabs of Cinnabun & # 39; s DNA to ViaGen Pets in September 2018, but unfortunately the original Cinnabun died on October 30. Ashley said: & # 39; I knew she had a very good life. & # 39; I gave her the best life I could for almost 19 years. & # 39; Pictured: Ashley with the original Cinnabun
To clone a pet, ViaGen Pets requires at least two skin samples to collect the DNA.
Most skin samples are taken from the belly or inside of the leg of a pet.
These samples are then cooled with ice packs and sent to a laboratory where they are placed in an incubator and the cells begin to grow.
There are millions of cells within two to four weeks.
The cells are harvested and placed in vials that have been frozen in liquid nitrogen tanks.
Melain Rodriguez, customer service manager at ViaGen Pets, said: “They can be kept in this frozen state forever.
& # 39; We have cells from 17 years ago that are still being preserved.
& # 39; Most of our customers simply choose to store their pet cells now because the cloning process is so expensive. & # 39;
This genetic storage costs $ 1,600 with an annual fee of $ 150 for storage.
In the next step of cloning, a donor egg is taken from a donor animal.
The core of the egg is removed, so there is no DNA and it is replaced by one of the millions of cells grown in the laboratory.
Rodriguez said: & # 39; The egg and the cell have melted together in our patented cloning process.
& # 39; Essentially, the egg is tempted to think it has been fertilized by a sperm. & # 39;
The full-time mother said her family and friends fully supported her decision to clone Cinnabun. She said: & # 39; Everyone thought it was a big idea. I have never heard any negative comments. & # 39; Pictured: Bryan and Ashley
The embryo is implanted in a surrogate animal that gives birth to kittens genetically identical to the original cat.
Bryan and Ashley sent samples and swabs of Cinnabun & # 39; s DNA to ViaGen Pets in September 2018, but unfortunately the original Cinnabun died on October 30.
Ashley said: & # 39; I knew she had a very good life.
& # 39; I gave her the best life I could for nearly 19 years and I knew she would get her back into the clone if she died.
& # 39; It gave me so much comfort to know that I would see her again with the new Cinnabun. & # 39;
The clone was born on February 4 and after a few weeks with his surrogate mother, it was transferred to Bryan and Ashley on April 3.
Ashley said: & # 39; It was of course a very special day. Cinnabun is gray in color, so I actually wore a gray top, I thought that would be nice.
& # 39; I was so excited to welcome her home. She was only two months old, but she looked exactly like her.
& # 39; Although we received the original Cinnabun when she was nine months old, it just overwhelmed me to see the two-month-old Cinnabun. & # 39;
Bryan said: & # 39; We wanted to name the new Bun Bun cat, but when we saw her pictures, she looked like Cinnabun identical when she was a kitten, so we just kept the same name. & # 39; Pictured: the cloned Cinnabun
Ashley added: “Regarding appearance, they are perfect. Even their personality is so similar. They are both bright.
& # 39; The new Cinnabun wants to sleep in exactly the same place as the original Cinnabun – a place where none of my other cats went to.
& # 39; She likes to sleep by the head on my pillow and on a certain bar stool in the kitchen. & # 39;
Bryan added: & # 39; We wanted to name the new Bun Bun cat, but when we saw her pictures, she looked identical to Cinnabun when she was a kitten, so we just kept the same name & # 39;
The full-time mother said her family and friends fully supported her decision to clone Cinnabun.
She said: & # 39; Everyone thought it was a big idea. I have never heard any negative comments.
& # 39; Most people think it's a very good process and it's good to do. & # 39;
The only regret is that they didn't get twins like Barbra Streisand.
Bryan said: & # 39; It might have been nice to have twins, but it didn't work that way. & # 39;
WHAT IS CLONING AND WHEN CAN WE HAVE A DAY CLONE PEOPLE?
What is cloning?
Cloning describes various processes that can be used to produce genetically identical specimens of a plant or animal.
In the most basic form, cloning works by taking the DNA of an organism and copying it to another place.
There are three different types of artificial clones: gene cloning, reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning.
Gene cloning creates copies of genes or parts of DNA. Reproductive cloning makes copies of whole animals.
Therapeutic cloning produces embryonic stem cells for tests aimed at creating tissues to replace injured or diseased tissues.
To make somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) clones, scientists take DNA (red circle) from tissue and place it in ova (yellow) with their DNA (green) removed. The scientists then switch certain genes on or off to allow the cells to replicate (right)
Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996 using a reproductive cloning process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
This takes a somatic cell, such as a skin cell, and moves its DNA to an egg with the nucleus removed.
Another more recent method of cloning uses Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC).
iPSC & # 39; s are skin cells or blood cells that have been reprogrammed in an embryonic state.
This allows scientists to design them in any type of cell.
Can we ever clone a human?
There is currently no scientific evidence that human embryos can be cloned.
In 1998, South Korean scientists claimed to have successfully cloned a human embryo, but said the experiment was interrupted when the clone was only a group of four cells.
In 2002, Clonaid, part of a religious group that believes people were created by aliens, held a press conference to announce the birth of what it claimed to be the first cloned human, a girl named Eve.
This was widely rejected as a publicity stunt.
In 2004 a group led by Woo-Suk Hwang of Seoul National University in South Korea published a paper in the journal Science claiming to have made a cloned human embryo in a test tube.
Gene cloning creates copies of genes or parts of DNA. Reproductive cloning makes copies of whole animals (stock image)
That paper was withdrawn in 2006.
According to the National Human Genome Research Institutefrom a technical perspective, cloning people is extremely difficult.
& # 39; One of the reasons is that two proteins that are essential for cell division, known as pivot proteins, are very close to the chromosomes in primaate eggs, & # 39; it writes.
& # 39; Consequently, removing the core from the egg to make room for the donor core also removes the spindle proteins, which disrupts cell division. & # 39;
The group explains that in other mammals, such as cats, rabbits, and mice, the two pivotal proteins spread throughout the egg.
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