5-Animals: US animal cloning center founded
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----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------
TITLE: Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc. is Born!
SOURCE: Bio-Arts & Research Corporation, USA, press release
DATE: February 16, 2000
-------------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------
5-Animals: US animal cloning center founded
Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc. is Born!
San Francisco Bio-Arts & Research Corporation, which oversees the
Missyplicity Projecta $2.3 million dog-cloning effort today announced
the first commercial spin-off from Missyplicity: a gene bank and
animal cloning company called Genetic Savings & Clone (GSC). GSC is
based in College Station, Texas, which is also home to Texas A&M
University, where scientific research for the Missyplicity Project is
being conducted. GSC is licensing technology and know-how pertaining
to cryopreservation from Texas A&M.
According to the GSC website http://www.savingsandclone.com/ GSC's
mission is "to market advanced genetic services directly to the
general public over the Internet." GSC has four divisions: Pets and
Livestock which are both active immediately as well as two other
divisions which will be coming online within the next few months:
Wildlife & Endangered Species, and Assistance & Rescue Dogs. GSC is
currently forming both commercial and non-profit partnerships to
support these divisions.
All four senior staff members from the Missyplicity project are
founding partners of GSC, including Dr. Mark Westhusin, Principal
Invstigator for the Missyplicity Project. In addition, GSC has hired
Dr. Charles Long, an expert in both cryopreservation and agricultural
science, as General Manager. The CEO is Lou Hawthorne, a Bay Area
technology and media specialist, who has served for two years as
Coordinator of the Missyplicity Project, and is President of Bio-Arts.
GSC's ordering and fulfillment process is internet-based, though the
company also allows for the "unwired" to order GSC's services by
calling 888-833-6063 (toll free). GSC has developed a kit called
BioBox, containing everything necessary for veterinarians to use in
extracting cells for gene banking and shipping to GSC's labs by
Federal Express. International ordering is coming soon.
According to Dr. Westhusin, the formation of GSC resulted from
consumer demand: "It never would have occurred to us to launch a gene
bank had it not been for hundreds of requests from the publicpeople
who are just crazy about their animals and hope to clone them
Assessing the progress of the Missyplicity Project toward producing
the world's first canine clone, Dr. Westhusin stated, "We believe
we're close. We're growing embryos pretty reliably now. It's just a
matter of time before one takes."
Regarding GSC's Livestock Division, Dr. Westhusin added, "Our team,
location, and various alliances also put us in a great position to
serve the agricultural industry. A few years down the line, cloned
livestock may be as common as IVF production is today. Gene banking
is an excellent way of protecting valuable DNA in the meantime."
Dr. Westhusin and his team at Texas A&M were responsible for
production of the one of the first bull clones from an adult cell,
which was derived from a 22-year old Brahman steer named Chance. The
clone, Second Chance, is now five months old and "doing great!",
according to Dr. Westhusin.
Like the Missyplicity Project, GSC operates under a strongly-worded
Code of Bioethics, which guarantees high standards of animal care and
also regulates the applications of GSC's technology. The GSC Code of
Bioethics is publicly available on the GSC website, along with other
resources including online forums on the science and ethics of
cloningas well as a forum for pet owners coping with pet loss.
GSC is a privately held company. In addition to a cash investor,
GSC's equity is held by senior staff members and by Bio-Arts, which
contributed intellectual property rights licensed from Texas A&M for
the Missyplicity Project.
Reporters interesting in covering GSC can use the following contacts:
General GSC info: Lou Hawthorne, 415-383-8531
Interviews with Missyplicity/GSC scientists: Keith Randall, A&M
University Relations, 409-845-4644
GSC Software Design Team: Jim Edlin, HydraStudios, 415-552-2683.
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