Picture of a cloned female British Longhair

Here is a picture of a cloned, female British Longhair; made in China at Qingdao Agricultural University in Shandong last summer. The picture appears to be a screenshot from a video but I can’t find the video. I have improved it slightly.

Cloned British Longhair made in China
Cloned British Longhair made in China. Source: Screenshot from Sina Weibo
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The cat has been named Ping’an (meaning ‘safety’). The appearance of this cat looks a bit atypical for this breed which is less well-known than the counterpart British Shorthair. The face has hints of a Persian. But I might be incorrect. The face should have a ‘heavy muzzle with great width’. The nose: ‘short straight snub nose’. Ping’an seems to fit that description.

But that’s beside the point because this a purebred cat that was created artificially by collecting a somatic cell from the skin of a British Longhair in 2019. A ‘somatic cell’ is ‘any cell of the body except sperm and egg cells’.

The cell was cultured and frozen in liquid nitrogen (a temperature of − 196 °C [− 320 °F]).

The cell was unfrozen (and a sperm cell added?) and placed into the fallopian tube of a surrogate female cat. She was born after a 62-day pregnancy.

In August, Ping’an came into heat. The scientists now want to find a suitable tomcat to set up a mating. Their preference is for a cat of the same breed.

An online commenter recommended her cat:

“My cat Mocha looks handsome and has a nice personality. It pays attention to hygiene and details, and can take care of girls. It has no bad habits or chaotic social life”.

I have no idea but Mocha might not be a genuine purebred. As Ping’an is already non-typical in appearance they’re going to produce offspring which are even less typical unless the male is a genuine British Longhair. Are there any in China? I’d expect the breed to be rare in China. Will she give birth to healthy kittens? We’ll wait and see. What are the moral implications? Personally, I don’t like it when humans mess with the natural world. It can produce unforeseen problems and if something goes wrong guess who suffers? Yes, the humble cat.

They’ve selected a male cat but are conducting physical tests.


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