With its black and white fur, this dog named Long Long would not differ at first sight from any other pet. But it has two characteristics that make it a very special issue: it was created by cloning, and its DNA was edited so that it suffers from a disease that causes the coagulation of its blood.
Long Long was cloned by Sinogene, a biotechnology firm based in Beijing, from another copy called Apple, whose genome had also been modified to develop arteriosclerosis. The objective is to use these animals as subjects of research to develop new drugs against these diseases.
The Chinese firm has also cloned two other animals called Xixi and Nunuo, surpassing South Korea which, to date, had the leadership in the field of dog cloning. These specimens are also pioneers because they have been used together with two revolutionary technologies: the cloning and the CRISPR for genetic editing.
China is the main country that uses the most animals for medical tests in laboratories. According to data provided in 2016 by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences (ILAS), at Beijing institution, approximately twenty million animals are being used as experimental guinea pigs throughout the country. They are mostly mice, but there are also rabbits, dogs and primates.