Copy your pet on the Internet!

In a great step forward for the brave new world of e-commerce, Genetic Savings & Clone has opened the first online animal genetic sampling, storage and restoration service. So if Rover gets run over, you'll be able to restore him from backup, exactly the same way you restore the files you lost when you last cleaned up your hard drive.

Well, not quite exactly the same way. Actually, the company offers to "help your veterinarian obtain small tissue samples from your animal, which we'll then specially prepare and store in liquid nitrogen, where they can safely remain indefinitely". It also offers subsidised rates for endangered species.

But that's not all. The company says it's developing new technology in cooperation with Texas A & M University, and soon hopes to expand from sampling and storage into cloning. A cattle cloning service is already available for livestock owners, and dog cloning is on the way with a $2.3 million project. Cat owners will have to wait a little longer, but their needs are also being addressed through the company's Operation CopyCat.

Pet services currently offered include a variety of tissue collection services at prices ranging from $US1000 to $US3500, and DNA storage for $US100 per year or more. If you want to clone your cow, the company says this service is available now, but doesn't mention any prices. Yes, I know it's the April issue. But I promise, I'm not making it up.

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