Meet Garlic, China’s First Cloned Kitten

Servet TURAN/iStock via Getty Images
Servet TURAN/iStock via Getty Images

Just hours after burying his dearly departed cat, Garlic, in a nearby park, 22-year-old Chinese businessman Huang Yu had a change of heart. He dug him right back up and relocated him to the refrigerator.

Then, The New York Times reports, Huang forked over about $35,000 to a Beijing pet-cloning company called Sinogene, hoping it could bring back his beloved British shorthair, gone too soon from a urinary tract disease. Seven months later, Sinogene debuted China’s first official cat clone (also named Garlic).

As The Scientist explains, Sinogene created 40 clone embryos using Garlic’s skin cells and other cats’ eggs, and then injected those embryos into four host cats. Though three of the cats did get pregnant, two miscarried. The last, luckiest cat surrogate gave birth to Garlic 66 days after insemination.

Sinogene began cloning dogs in 2015 after a survey indicated a healthy demand, and it has since cloned more than 40 dogs, each for about $53,000. The decision to undertake its first cat case was also based on market research that demonstrated cats’ rising popularity in China. Mi Jidong, Sinogene's chief executive, told The New York Times that the company's aspirations don’t stop at house pets; his scientists are currently working on cloning a horse, and pandas and endangered tigers are on the company's long-term to-do list.

China’s lack of nationwide laws against animal cruelty gives Sinogene scientists free reign to experiment with animals in whatever ways they’d like. Critics have long argued that animal cloning is inhumane for both the surrogates and the clones themselves.

Jessica Pierce, a University of Colorado Denver bioethicist, told The New York Times that a cloned pet “has no intrinsic value” and is “used as an object, as a means to somebody’s end.” And cloning is still new enough that we don’t know if the cloned animals will experience adverse effects in their lifetimes—or in the case of wild cloned animals, damage to the species' gene pools.

Other critics take issue with the steep prices for pet clones, suggesting that the money could better aid existing animals.

Though Huang told The New York Times that having Garlic returned to him would have been worth even more than $35,000, he had a different problem with his reincarnated kitten: It didn’t look exactly like the original Garlic, who had a small patch of black fur beneath his mouth that the clone doesn’t have.

“If I tell you I wasn’t disappointed, then I would be lying to you,” he admitted to The Times. “But I’m also willing to accept that there are certain situations in which there are limitations to the technology.”

[h/t The Scientist]

Maine Man Catches a Rare Cotton Candy Lobster—For the Second Time

RnDmS/iStock via Getty Images
RnDmS/iStock via Getty Images

Just three months after a cotton candy lobster was caught off the coast of Maine, another Maine resident has reeled in one of the rare, colorful creatures.

Kim Hartley told WMTW that her husband caught the cotton candy lobster off Cape Rosier in Penobscot Bay—and it’s not his first time. Four years ago, he caught another one, which he donated to an aquarium in Connecticut. While the Hartleys decide what to do with their pretty new foster pet, it’s relaxing in a crate on land.

Though the chances of finding a cotton candy lobster are supposedly one in 100 million, Maine seems to be crawling with the polychromatic crustaceans. Lucky the lobster gained quite a cult following on social media after being caught near Canada’s Grand Manan Island (close to the Canada-Maine border) last summer, and Portland restaurant Scales came across one during the same season. You can see a video of the discovery in Maine from last August below:

According to National Geographic, these lobsters’ cotton candy-colored shells could be the result of a genetic mutation, or they could be related to what they’re eating. Lobsters get their usual greenish-blue hue when crustacyanin—a protein they produce—combines with astaxanthin, a bright red carotenoid found in their diet. But if the lobsters aren’t eating their usual astaxanthin-rich fare like crabs and shrimp, the lack of pigment could give them a pastel appearance. It’s possible that the cotton candy lobsters have been relying on fishermen’s bait as their main food source, rather than finding their own.

While these vibrant specimens may look more beautiful than their dull-shelled relatives, even regular lobsters are cooler than you think—find out 25 fascinating facts about them here.

[h/t WMTW]

What’s Better Than a Dog in a Sweater? A Sweater That Shows an Image of Your Dog in a Sweater

Sweater Hound
Sweater Hound

If you think the sight of someone walking their sweater-clad dog is just about the cutest thing in the world, you’re absolutely correct. But what if that person was wearing a sweater that showed an image of their dog wearing a sweater? If you think that sounds even cuter, you’re in for a treat.

According to People, New York-based apparel company Sweater Hound will knit you a sweater that displays an image of your dog in a sweater—all you have to do is submit your favorite photo of your dog. And, because not all dogs love wearing sweaters in real life, your dog doesn’t have to be wearing a sweater in the photo you upload.

Each sweater is made from a combination of acrylic and recycled cotton, and will prove to your pet that you truly do love them more than anyone else (unless you already own sweaters emblazoned with the faces of your friends and family).

The sweaters, which cost $98 each, come in both child and adult sizes, and you can choose between cream, navy, black, and gray. The options don’t stop there—Sweater Hound offers sweaters that show your dog wearing just a bow tie, a bow tie and a sweater, a Santa hat and scarf, reindeer ears and a sweater, or even a “Super Dog” cape and domino mask outfit.

sweater hound dog wearing a bow tie on a sweater
Sweater Hound

If sweaters aren’t really your style, there are also hoodies and sweatpants decorated with a smaller, logo-sized image of your dog. Or, you could snuggle with your prized pooch underneath a warm blanket bearing a rather giant image of said pooch.

blanket with an image of a dog wearing a bow tie and sweater
Sweater Hound

While the company does specialize in creating dog-related products, they’ll do their best to accommodate people who love salamanders in Santa hats, birds in bow ties, and other pets wearing clothes. You can email them at Hello@Sweaterhound.com to discuss your options.

If you’re hoping to get someone a gift from Sweater Hound this holiday season, you should act fast: You have to place your order by December 4 in order to guarantee delivery before Christmas, and that date will likely change as the days go by.

Adorable, customizable clothing is just one of the many perks of being a dog owner—here are 10 more scientifically proven benefits.

[h/t People]

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