Animals & Money: $110,000 (plus shipping) to clone Fido

Dog Clones invade plantet earth
Dog Clones invade plantet earth

BioArts International, a California-based biotech start-up, is hoping to kick-start commercial dog-cloning with five successive daily auctions for the service starting July 5.

The opening bid is $100,000 for the first auction, with a 10% buyer's premium. In each of the successive auctions, the opening bid goes up by $20,000. So by the last auction on July 9, you'd need $180,000, plus 10%. Talk about inflation:

Plus you have to either pick up your puppy in Korea, or pay to have him shipped home.

The same guy ran another genetics company (Genetic Savings & Clone) a few years ago and offered cat cloning for $32,000. (That company went under in 2006 after cloning two cats.)

Before we talk about the fascinating peculiarities of this process, I do feel like I have to point out that we're not exactly running out of dogs here. We euthanize nearly 10 million dogs and cats a year. On the other hand, I understand the desire. My dog Jolly is a grumpy 14 years old. As I always tell him, he is the best dog in the world: loving, loyal, clever, funny, brave, silly and handsome. I would do practically anything to extend my time with him. I'd love to be able to see Jolly as a puppy since I adopted him when he was past two. But this isn't that magic opportunity. For starters I don't have $110,000 to spare. But more importantly what makes Jolly Jolly is his life and experience, as lousy as that might have been to start (he was found in a drug dealer's backyard.) A clone would only get me a handsome dog, not Jolly.

Ok, enough about the serious implications. Let's get to the grotesque details. First the financials. You have to have cash or credit of $250,000 just to sign up to bid. If you win, you have three days to put the money in a Wells Fargo trust. They only take the money out if you accept a healthy puppy -- except for some deposit fees.