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:
- 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.
- This woman is clearly nuts. I'm not one to make judgements about the sanity of others based on photos, but...well, c'mon.
- 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.