The first mammal cloned from an adult cell was sheep Dolly. She was born at the Roslin Institute outside Edinburgh, Scotland, on 5th July 1996 and was euthanased in 2003, aged six and a half.
Today, commercial cloning services offer the cloning of pets. Beyond an initial charge for genetic preservation and an annual storage fee, as of 2019, cloning a dog costs $ 50 thousand; a cat $ 25 thousand; and a horse $ 85 thousand.
According to swine genetics company Topigs Norsvin, “TN60 is a robust and durable parent sow, bred in hot climates for high performance under challenged conditions. It produces large litters of fast growing uniform finishing pigs with excellent carcass quality. Its high feed intake capacity and strong legs contribute to its unparalleled longevity under the most challenging conditions.”
Every two weeks a farm animal breed goes extinct worldwide, being displaced by a few high performance breeds. In the 1970s, the German pasture pig disappeared. It was bred-back recently by purposefully crossing different pig races. A breeding-back breed may be very similar to the extinct wild type, but the original gene pool was eliminated with its extinction. The meat of the German pasture pig is praised for being very succulent and pleasant-tasting.
In 2013, the world´s first beef burger grown in a petri dish was presented in London and tested by 16 people. It cost € 250 thousand. In 2018, the price for one kilogram had dropped to € 60. It is expected to drop under € 10 until 2020. Several companies are currently working on a variety of ‘cultured’ meats ranging from pork sausage to foie gras to chicken nuggets.
Considered as high protein, low carbon foot print solution for feeding the increasing world population, large-scale industrial insect farming is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Industrial size insect farms are starting around the world that are rearing insects, although yet mainly for fish feed. Insects can be bred in very large numbers and ‘harvested’ in only a few weeks. One would have to eat about a thousand grasshoppers to equal the amount of protein in a 350 g steak.
More than 1 900 edible insect species are consumed around the world. The majority of these known species are harvested in the wild. The most commonly consumed insects are beetles, caterpillars and bees, wasps and ants. These are followed by grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, cicadas, leaf and planthoppers, scale insects and true bugs, termites, dragonflies, flies and other orders. Depending on the country and place, rural dwellers or other people can over-exploit some species. These run the risk of extinction.
As the first polar bear born at the Berlin Zoo in more than three decades, Knut became an instant celebrity. In summer 2007 more than 15,000 people came out every day to witness Knut. “Knutmania” spanned the globe and yielded toys, DVDs, books, a live celebration his first birthday on German television and the issue of special commemorative silver coins by the national mint. In the eye of the public, he unexpectedly died at the age of four. A bronze sculpture “Knut – The Dreamer” was later revealed at Berlin Zoo. Next to the grave of the zookeeper who reared the cub, a memorial stone pays homage to their special relationship. A full-sized sculpture covered in Knut’s pelt went on display in Berlin´s Museum of Natural History.
Tardar Sauce, also known as Grumpy Cat, is known for her grumpy facial appearance, which is likely due to feline dwarfism. As of May 2019, Grumpy Cat has 8.3 million followers on Facebook, 2.4 million on Instagram and 1.5 million on Twitter. Grumpy Cat Limited holds 8 trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and there are nearly a thousand items available on the official Grumpy Cat online shop.
Choupette is a Birman cat which was the pet of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, sometimes referred to as his ‘daughter’. As of May 2019, @MademoiselleChoupetteLagerfeld has 50 thousand likes on Facebook, @choupettesdiary is followed by 300 thousand followers on Instagram and more than 52 thousand on Twitter. She gave multiple interviews in high-end fashion magazines. In 2015 alone, she earned 3 million euros promoting cars and beauty products.
AIBO was released by SONY in 1999. The robot has the ability to react to its environment and learn from its owners, is programmed to simulate the behavior of a living animal and builds its own unique personality. The current fourth generation model incorporates a fish lens camera, wifi connectivity as well as location and mapping software. Due to a lack of spare parts for older generation models, AIBO funerals have become popular in Japan.
GloFish® is a patented and trademarked brand of genetically engineered fluorescent fish. In 1999, the gene from a jellyfish was inserted into a zebrafish embryo, allowing it to integrate into the zebrafish’s genome. This caused the fish to be brightly fluorescent. Later a line of red fluorescent zebra fish was developed by adding a gene from a sea coral. GloFish are available in six colors: Starfire Red®, Cosmic Blue®, Electric Green®, Galactic Purple®, Sunburst Orange® and Moonrise Pink®.
Heart disease is a major death cause in the western world. Due to the shortage of organs, very few hearts can currently be transplanted. After they successfully transplanted genetically modified pig hearts into baboons in 2018, scientists believe that transplanting pigs’ hearts into humans may have come one step closer to reality.
In 1997, the first human was linked to a transgenic pigs’ liver outside the body until a human liver became available. A few weeks later the experiments were halted because of fears of a Porcine endogenous retroviruses (Perv) spreading to humans. Researches have now successfully removed those Pervs from the pig genome, using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique.