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5-Animals: US animal cloning center founded



----------------------------- 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 
someday."

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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