Chinese Dog Cloning Company is CLONING movie star

A celebrity dog which has appeared in many Chinese films has been cloned so it’s 'mini-me' can continue entertaining fans in the country when the famous dog dies.
The nine-year-old mongrel 'Juice', or "Guozhi" in Mandarin, is a famous animal star on the silver screen, working alongside Chinese A-listers like Huang Bo and earning up to six figures for each film he stars in.

When the one-foot-tall dog grows older his illustrious career peaks, the dog owner has decided to have the animal genetically replicated to be able to preserve its talent to act and carried forward by its copy 'Little Juice', according to Sinogen, the company that made the cloning service.

A mongrel stray adopted from the streets, cannot reproduce as he was neutralized from an early age.
"Juice himself is a piece of the intellectual property with social influence," said his owner,  He Jun, a Beijing-based animal trainer.

To achieve this, he went to Sinogene, the first biotechnology company in China to provide pet breeding services. Sinogini made the headlines when it successfully cloned a gene-edited beagle in May last year. A month later, the company launched its commercial cloning services. For at least 380,000 yuan ($55,065), dog owners can clone their dogs.

Juice copy, 'Little Juice' or ‘Zhizhi’ in Chinese, was born in mid-September and remained with his surrogate mother at the Sinogene Laboratory for about a month. Later the puppy was given to He, at a small ceremony in which the original juice was present. Although He has not yet committed Little Juice to show business, he sees a lot of possibilities. He said, 'we believe he will be better than the older Juice.’

According to Sinogene's CEO Mi Jidong, the company's pet business is in its early stages, but he plans to expand services to eventually include gene editing.
"We have discovered that more and more pet owners want their pets to be with them for a longer period of time," Mi said.

China's biotechnology industry is growing rapidly and, compared to similar institutions in the West, faces relatively few regulatory barriers.

Last year, Sinogene scientists said they found the key to mass-breeding extra strong and fast 'super dogs' after successfully cloning a gene-edited beagle, called Long Long.

The group of scientists in Beijing says through the technology, they were able to change a dog's nature by transforming its genes, and then reproduce it through cloning. For example, they can customize a dog so that it has bigger muscles and better running ability before making copies of it, said Lai Liangxue, the lead researcher.

Earlier this year, a laboratory in Shanghai produced the world's first cloned monkey, two long-tailed macaques. More controversially, He Jiankui of the South China University of Science and Technology said last month that he had used gene-editing technology to change the embryonic genes of twin girls.

Tin-Lap Lee, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Hong Kong in China, said that while China has regulations in the use of animals for laboratory research, there are no laws that clearly cover the cloning of animals.

"On the government side, the image of this cloning industry is very high-tech, and it certainly ... very supportive of those high-tech industries because of the high-profit margin," Lee said.

In the case of juice, samples were collected from the dog's lower belly and, within a few weeks, Sinogene was able to isolate its DNA and fertilize an egg.

The fertilized egg is surgically inserted into the uterus of a surrogate mother dog: in this case, a Beagle.

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