Welcome to the age of frivolous cloning

By now, you've probably heard the story of Bernann McKinney, a Californian woman who paid $50,000 to have her beloved (and deceased) dog, Booger, cloned by Korean scientists. The researchers plan to clone about 300 dogs a year for wealthy clients, presumably with more dollars than sense.

Here's why this story makes me mad:

  1. Cloning is an important, and controversial, technology with the potential to improve a lot of people's lives. But when it's used to make crazy woman new dogs, it denigrates the practice and gives fodder to Stem Cell opponents.
  2. This woman is clearly nuts. I'm not one to make judgements about the sanity of others based on photos, but...well, c'mon.
  3. The whole idea of cloning pets is based on a totally ridiculous understanding of cloning. This is not your dog. Your dog is dead, and it will never exist again. A cloned pet may be an exact genetic copy of your beloved Booger, but it ain't booger. The ages-old 'nature vs. nurture' debate has come out as a draw, and we know that creatures are far more than the sum of their biological parts. If you're really interested in wasting 50 large to contact a dead dog, then you'd do just as well calling a pet psychic.

I really hope this doesn't take off. Lonely women are not the basis of a sound system of bioethics.