the uninitiated, Missyplicity.com is the website dedicated to 'Missy
the dog.' By now, Iım sure that everybody, barring those that have
been on Mars for the last year have heard of Dolly the sheep - well
Missy is Dolly's doggy equivalent.
I stumbled, quite
literally, upon the site a few days ago whilst looking for something
else. This seems to me to be the best way to find new websites. Missy's
site provides a factual account of up-to-the-moment research on dog
cloning. In fact, the site provides you with an 'everything you ever
needed to know about cloning your dog.' Well, almost.
The research was
the brainchild of a multi-billionaire from San Francisco, who for the
payment of a very large fee has secured his anonymity. He provides the
money, the research team provide the knowledge. The research and development
company A&M initially wanted no part in dog-cloning, namely taking the
DNA of a dog preferably alive although this isn't absolutely essential.
As long as the dog's corpse is dealt with quickly and effectively after
the moment of death, the DNA can still be used. Sheep are one thing,
but the ethics surrounding cloning family pets is a completely different
It was only when
people started registering interest and paying deposits in dollars that
A&M began to realise the money-making potential of the scheme. The website
fails to give the exact number of people who have paid advance deposits
in order to have their dog's DNA taken the moment the 'dog pops his
clogs.' But according to Wired Magazine, the figure is somewhere in
the region of 20,000. The deposit is $2000 with a sum of $250,000 to
be paid once the process begins. In the meantime, until a reliable method
is found to successfully clone dogs, the family pet's DNA is frozen
and awaits the glorious day when the family pet can be yours literally
forever (in one form or another.) This certainly leaves us asking why
so many people want to cling to the past the way they do.
I have gleaned all
this information, and much more from the missyplicity.com website and
with the help of a little background reading. I have to note at this
point that the actual website, continues to secure Mr X's anonymity.
His Missy tales are there for all to read; how she was found, how she
rescued the other family pet 'Liebe.' She sounds like Lassie's great
grand-daughter from his accounts of this much adored pet. There are
also photographs of the dog in various poses; on the beach, on the moorland,
playing ball with Mr X himself, (although only a shot of his butt is
visible.) In fact there is not a place where we donıt see the dog having
fun. There's even a portrait of the dog, which one imagines takes pride
of place on Mr X's wall in his 'den.'
As you enter the
first page, at once you are greeted by a large picture of Missy completely
filling your screen. In case, you don't fully appreciate how beautiful
she is, you just have to glance in the top left hand corner where Missy
is standing in all her glory, her tail wagging in perpetual motion.
The best moment
on the website is when you click at the bottom of the portrait gallery,
on the 'animated Missy' section. At first when I clicked I thought to
myself 'what's going on? This isn't animated.' I suppose I was expecting
some sort of cartoon version of Missy. And then it happened. Missy's
head managed three jerky movements, straight ahead, sideways and backwards.
I was astonished. This was certainly not what I expected. I waited a
few seconds, giving it the opportunity to improve, and then the best
bit came; Missy got warmed up and started moving in a series of fast
jerky movements. Her movements became fluid and she was no longer the
stilted dog that I had just witnessed. Her head was now jumping across
The one thing that
is not shown on the web-site which surprised me a little is that there
are no photos or cameras of the actual experiments taking place. I'm
not entirely sure that I would actually want to see this, but I'm sure
there is a market for the material. The scientist who is being paid
large sums of money by Mr X has been making a film of these experiments,
which I'm sure he will release when the moment and price are right.
This probably explains why we aren't seeing it on the website.
There are links
from the website to take you to other dog related sites and other cloning
sites. For pure navigability, the site is very easy to use and there
is no problem finding your way around. There's lots of information on
dog cloning, a section dedicated to telling us who is in the team of
scientists and a section completely devoted to providing press releases.
To my British eyes, the Missy site is very American. It is the aim of
the Bioethics department, we are reliably informed, to ensure that all
of the dogs are suitably adopted within a 'reasonable time period.'
There's even an opportunity to adopt one of the puppies that have been
used in the experiments. Simply pay $100 to prove commitment, which
incidentally includes a basket to transport the dog and a puppy is yours
presumably forever, and not just for Christmas.
Personally I find
myself questioning the ethics of releasing puppies to just anyone with
$100 in their hands and time to kill surfing the net. But obviously
there is no law to prevent it, and therefore they have a carte blanche
The web-page then
goes on to explain how well trained the puppies are; they sit, heel,
stay and presumably fetch things when asked. They even know the word
'no.' This is intended to fill every prospective dog owner with the
confidence that they will get a well-behaved puppy as opposed to one
who is naughty and disobedient. I have yet to meet a puppy who is this
The moment when
I can get a perfect puppy is probably closer than I might prefer to
think. Imagine having a dog who instantly knows right from wrong, is
genetically bred to be obedient, not to chew my sofa and will provide
me with the perfect no-hassle companionship that many people would crave.
Although we are
informed that cloning dogs is a more complex procedure than sheep, (apparently
dogs don't ovulate as frequently as sheep) it looks as if cloned dogs
are literally just around the corner.
Check it out: