In a stunning announcement from their Anaheim, Ca., laboratories, a team of scientists from Disney Biosciences has claimed a major breakthough in asexual reproductive technology - the first-ever cloning of a cartoon character. The character in question is Mickey Mouse, who was once a popular screen star but has made few movies in recent years. Mr Mouse, who will be 79 this November, is now relatively reclusive - though sightings have been reported as far apart as Orlando, Fl., Paris France and Hong Kong. Now that Mr Mouse has been cloned, it will be possible for Disney Studios to exploit his pristine personality without fear of genetic deterioration. It is hoped that Mr Mouse, formerly known as Steamboat Willie on account of his exploits, will be able to sire a new generation of lookalikes.
The original Mickey Mouse (left) and the cloned version (rights). Scientists and theatre critics claim they are identical and even Ms Mouse is hard-pressed to tell them apart.
A spokesman for Mickey's long-time on- and off-screen partner Minnie welcomed the development. Meanwhile the USPTO has confirmed that Disney's patent attorneys have applied for monopoly protection. The patent claims are for
"1. A method of cloning a non-human mammal, the method comprising the steps of:Meanwhile, lawyers for Looney Tunes' parent company Warner are considering legal action in respect of Claim 4 which, they maintain, is for an extension of the newly-disclosed cloning technology to a fictional character, Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr., (right) in whom they own the copyright.
removing from a physical representation of the mammal body one or more samples comprised within a cel; introducing the one or more samples into a cel replicating machine; preparing in the cel replicating machine one or more new cels comprising a representation of a cloned copy of the mammal,
wherein the replicating machine is configured to alter at least a portion of the representation of the cloned copy of the mammal.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the non-human mammal is of the genus mus.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein the non-human mammal is of the species mus musculus.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the non-human mammal is of the species cattus felis silvestris.
5. The method of any preceding claim wherein the non-human mammal is a fictional character".