A Chinese company, which offers pet cloning for US$ 50,000, expects to be cloning at least 500 animals per year. In 2018 Chinese spent 106 billion yuan (US$ 16.5 billion) on 50 million pets, up by 20.5 per cent over the previous year.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Caixin) – Sinogene, a biotechnology company, has opened a new, financially promising market over the past year, namely cloning of dogs and other pets to spare their owners the trauma of their death.
Before Sinogene, only a South Korean company offered this service for US$ 100,000. Now the Chinese firm is in the market for half that price, and has already had several dozen customers, with great future potential.
In China, dog owners spent 106 billion yuan (US$ 16.5 billion) on an estimated 50 million pets in 2018, up by 20.5 per cent over the previous year, spawning new services like pet hotels and funerals.
So far, Sinogene has cloned 20 dogs and has 20 more orders for the first quarter of 2019. It hopes to grow and clone 500 dogs annually within five years, for Chinese and foreign customers.
The company also clones horses and is developing more “biotherapy” products for pets.
China’s genetic research is developing at great speed. In 2018, a group of scientists cloned two monkeys. The Chinese government supports research and DNA tests.
Last year, Prof He Jiankui announced that he had edited the genes of two girls to make them immune to HIV, sparking a storm of criticisms over the ethics of the operation.
As a result, Chinese authorities adopted restrictions on the use and manipulation of human DNA; yet, there is nothing to stop animal cloning.
So far, Sinogene customers have not expressed any ethical concerns. “When they lose their pets, they want their (pets’) lives to continue,” said Zhao Jianping, the company’s deputy general manager.