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Happy B-day, Mira: First dog clone in U.S. is 1

Mira — the first cloned dog in America — has turned one.

It was one year ago last Saturday that a clone of Lou Hawthorne’s family dog, a border collie-husky mix named Missy, was born in a Korean biotech lab.

Efforts to clone Missy began in 1997, when a longtime family friend of Hawthorne’s, Arizona billionaire John Sperling, funded a research project at Texas A&M University called the “Missyplicity Project.”

In 2000, Hawthorne launched a company, Genetic Savings & Clone, to continue the research that started in Texas, but it too failed in its dog cloning attempts. Despite cloning numerous cats, GS&C closed in 2006.

Hawthorne continued his quest, and in 2007 formed BioArts International, partnering with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a laboratory in Korea headed by Dr. Woo Suk Hwang, who was part of the team at Seoul National University that cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy, in 2005. While Snuppy was verified as a clone, Hwang was fired from the university after being accused of fraudulently reporting he had cloned a human embryo.

The cloning of Missy, and birth of Mira, were achieved under the direction of Hwang, with whom Hawthorne contracted for the service.

Four more Missy clones were produced, after which BioArts announced an international dog-cloning auction, called Best Friends Again, which sold all 5 available cloning slots in July, raising over $700,000. All those clonings are being done at Sooam as well.

BioArts reports that the first client clones were recently born, but declined to provide further information, including the identity of the clients.

Mira, who I met last month, is something of a local celebrity at the Mill Valley, California dog park she frequents.

Hawthorne says Mira bears a striking resemblance to Missy, and also shares some of the donor dogs behavioral quirks, “like her love of broccoli and her tendency to steal my socks.”


Comment from Mary Schmidt
Time December 12, 2008 at 9:36 pm

What did you think of Mira? Without knowing her history, would you notice anything different about her?

Part of me understands the desire to clone a beloved dog, especially a one-of-a kind mutt. But only after all the shelter and street dogs of this world have happy, permanent homes….

Comment from Devils Messiah
Time July 5, 2011 at 9:56 am

I want to be cloned so I can rule the world.