If you didn't know any better, you might think that Star, Snuppy, CC and ANDi were just a few unfortunately named animals. You'd only be half right. These creative monikers actually belong to a pig, a dog, a cat and a monkey that were among the first clones of their species.
You're likely already familiar with Dolly -- the sheep that achieved near celebrity status as the first mammal to be cloned successfully using adult animal cells. But although Dolly has been one of the few cloned animals to attract widespread fame, she's not alone. The world's first clone -- a tadpole -- was actually created in 1952 [source: Human Genome Project]. And at least a dozen different species have been cloned since: everything from the common cow to the endangered guar, a type of wild ox. You can learn more about the science behind cloning in How Cloning Works.
Animal cloning has come a long way since that first tadpole more than 50 years ago. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) declaration in early 2008 that food products derived from the clones of cows, pigs and goats are safe for human consumption intensified an already growing interest in the process.
Cloning has additional uses besides its ability to help farmers breed consistently top-notch burgers and bacon. Other potential applications include the preservation of species, biomedical research, drug and organ production and even commercial ventures that aim to keep little Fido (or at least a convincing substitute) in the family forever.
The possibility of having carbon copies of man's best friend bounding around the house leaves some people giddy and others understandably edgy. It may also leave you wondering just how many of these walking photocopies already exist. Or perhaps more importantly, did the hamburger you just finished eating get its start in a petri dish?
It seems that finding out exactly how many cloned animals have been produced is almost as difficult as producing them in the first place. There's no official registry of clones, and laboratories aren't required to report every single tadpole or mouse they create. The only species that anyone seems to be keeping track of are those whose progeny might make it into your grocer's deli case.
Armed with a bit of knowledge concerning animal cloning and its most prevalent uses, it's possible to narrow down the contestants to a viable field. While no one can say with any certainty that the animals in this article are the five most cloned animals in the world, they're at least worthy of mention.