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Sunday, June 12, 2005


Dog Science

The Scientist at Work Posted by Hello

We have a couple of dogs. Our older dog, Ben, is a very dignified, steadfast, Gary Cooper-in-canine-form type of guy. Our younger dog, Mortimer, is not. He's a baby. He's coming up on three years old, but he's still a baby. He gets very insecure, he's unabashedly playful and he wears a diaper.

That last part isn't true. He's actually got fantastic bladder control.

Mortimer is, in most respects, a normal dog. The thing that sets him apart is his research in cloning.

Mortimer is generally quite law-abiding. He poops at the curb and makes sure that it's picked up. He's got all of his shots and is licensed with the city of New York. He doesn't drink or do drugs. But Mortimer feels that the puritanical stance our nation's leaders have taken on cloning is just wrong and he refuses to be constrained by laws he feels are detrimental to dogkind.

And so he's been working for the last year and a half to clone himself.

To set at ease the minds of any Hairshirt readers who may be vehemently pro-life and who would have qualms about the use of embryonic stem cells in cloning, I should say that Mortimer has taken a radical approach; one which doesn't involve the use of artificially inseminated eggs or any sort of Franken-adjective gene manipulation. He's taken a more holistic approach to cloning.

He's been working doggedly--if one can pardon the use of a pun--to insert as much of his DNA as possible into a dog blanket. He does this by chewing on the blanket for hours at a time, soaking it with his saliva. The blanket has very little resemblance any more to it's original shape, which Mortimer takes as a sign of success.

Mortimer's plan is to fill the blanket with his DNA via the saliva and then find a way to activate the genes and bring the blanket to life. This is where I find the flaw in his reasoning. Mortimer has, on occasion, tried humping the blanket. This leads me to believe that he thinks intercourse with the blanket will provide the genetic spark necessary to create life. Sadly, Mortimer has no testicles. I see a lesson for all scientists in this, canine and otherwise: a scientist who is not self-aware (at least self-aware enough to know when he's got no nuts) is doomed to failure.

Whether he ultimately succeeds or fails, though, I really have to admire the originality of Mortimer's thinking. I look forward to the publication of his findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has agreed to look at his completed work next spring.

That was the best made up reason I have ever read by someone who wanted a reason to post a pic of their dog.
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