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Remembering CC, The Cloned Cat

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The world of science has lost a pioneer.

DUANE KRAEMER: Some people named her Copy Cat, some Carbon Copy, some Cloned Cat. As far as I'm concerned, her name is C.C.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: C.C. died last week in Texas at the age of 18.

KRAEMER: So many people were interested in her. So many stories were written about her. She was the biggest news story ever out of Texas A&M.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sure, Dolly, the cloned sheep, was created five years earlier. But C.C...

KRAEMER: She was the first cloned pet.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Dr. Duane Kraemer, a biomedical scientist at Texas A&M and part of the team that created C.C. Dr. Kraemer eventually adopted Copy Cat and set her up "Golden Girls"-style in a two-story cat loft that had a caged patio, air conditioning and running water. C.C.'s origin story goes back to 2001 and Dr. Kraemer's lab.

KRAEMER: We took some cells from Rainbow.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Another cat in his lab.

KRAEMER: We gave them some electrical shocks. And then when they grew in our petri dishes, we transferred them into recipient females.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Surrogate mothers. C.C. developed as any normal cat fetus would but was soon a celebrity.

KRAEMER: When she was born, we put her into a beaker and took a picture of her. That picture of C.C. in that beaker was a very, very popular request from the media from all over the world.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Once she bloomed as a kitten, people wanted to know just how identical C.C. was to her clone mama, Rainbow.

KRAEMER: If you clone a cat, it acts like a cat. But it'll have its own cat personality depending on its environment.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Whatever her personality, C.C. had her own look, too, with more orange in her fur than Rainbow because while the two cats may have shared the same genes, not all the genes were activated. Dr. Kraemer has kept some of C.C.'s DNA just in case someday there is ever a reason to clone her again. But he says it would only be for scientific - never for sentimental - reasons.

KRAEMER: We don't really need more cats. I encourage people to go to the pound and adopt a cat.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because, he says, a clone of your pet will never be the same as the original. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.