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How did Argentina’s president Javier Milei clone his dog five times?


QUESTION Did Argentina’s president Javier Milei try to have his dog cloned? 

Not only did he try, he succeeded. Javier Milei, a self-identified libertarian and ‘anarcho-capitalist’, adopted an English mastiff named Conan, after Conan the Barbarian, in 2004.

This dog died in 2017 and the following year, Milei received Conan’s clones — one of the same name, plus Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas, named after his favourite economists Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas.

At his political rallies, Milei held aloft pictures of his dogs, which he distributed to the crowd before picking up a chainsaw, his unsubtle metaphor for the spending cuts he promised to deliver.

Milei, unmarried, described the 200lb Conan as his ‘closest friend and confidante’. According to The Madman, Milei’s unauthorised biography by Juan Luis Gonzalez, following Conan’s death a devastated Milei visited a medium to communicate with his late pet in the afterlife. Milei said Conan relayed God’s mission for him to be president of Argentina.

Milei paid PerPETuate, a U.S. firm, $50,000 (£40,000) to perform the cloning. Usually reluctant to talk about his ‘grandchildren’, he has said: ‘What is it they say, my dogs determine my strategies, yes? That they’re like a strategic committee? They are the best strategic committee in the world.’

Javier Milei successfully cloned an English mastiff named Conan, after Conan the Barbarian and when it died in 2014, he adopted one of Conan’s clones

Javier Milei won the Argentinian presidential election with 56% of the vote in November with some unorthodox tactics. Pictured holding up a chainsaw at one of his rallies

Javier Milei won the Argentinian presidential election with 56% of the vote in November with some unorthodox tactics. Pictured holding up a chainsaw at one of his rallies 

Cloning dogs involves somatic cell nuclear transfer. The nucleus of a somatic cell (a cell other than a sperm or egg cell) from the donor dog is inserted into an egg cell that has had its nucleus removed. The reconstructed egg is then stimulated to start dividing, then implanted into a surrogate mother dog. The first cloned dog, Afghan hound Snuppy, was created in 2005 by scientists in South Korea.

Rachel French, St Andrews, Fife.

QUESTION What are the most patronising pop songs ever? Phil Collins’s Another Day In Paradise springs to mind.

I like Phil Collins but he probably deserved some of the grief he got for Another Day In Paradise, a song about the guilt felt when ignoring the homeless in which he ordered us to ‘Just think about it’. Phil later left Britain for the tax haven that is Switzerland.

Some of the responses to the song were even more patronising. Enter Billy Bragg, who piously told us: ‘Phil Collins might write a song about the homeless, but if he doesn’t have the action to go with it he’s just exploiting that for a subject.’

Bragg recently updated his already toe-curling song Sexuality to support the trans movement with the jarring lyric: ‘Just because you’re They, I won’t turn you away / If you stick around, I’m sure that we can find the right pronoun.’

Another excruciating song about homelessness was Mel C’s If That Were Me which contains the line: ‘I couldn’t live without my phone / But you don’t even have a home.’

John Lennon's song Imagine included the lyrics: 'Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man'

John Lennon’s song Imagine included the lyrics: ‘Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man’

Phil Collins at a 1997 gala in honour of The Prince's Trust

Phil Collins at a 1997 gala in honour of The Prince’s Trust

Paul McCartney is king of the beautiful melody, but without John Lennon to add a bit of grit, his lyrics can be cloying. No more so than with Ebony And Ivory, in which ‘Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony / Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?’

That said, it was John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band that gave us the tiresome hippy anthem Give Peace A Chance, while he sat in bed doing nothing. Then on The Luck Of The Irish, Yoko Ono offended an entire nation with her comment on Northern Ireland’s Troubles with: ‘Let’s walk over rainbows like leprechauns / The world would be one big Blarney stone.’

However, the king of them all must be Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Not just because Ethiopia has a longer Christian tradition than the British Isles, but it even refers to Africa as a place ‘where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow’ — an astonishingly misleading portrayal of Ethiopia.

Gus Evans, Carlisle, Cumbria.

Surely one of the most patronising pop songs has to be John Lennon’s Imagine? ‘Imagine no possessions . . .’ No one saw John, or any other pop singer, giving away their wealth and property.

Paddy Bowen, Great Torrington, Devon.

QUESTION How is the liver able to regenerate? Are any other parts of the body able to do this?

The liver is the only solid organ that can use a regenerative mechanism to return to full capacity after it has been damaged. Remarkably, the body can cope with the removal of up to two thirds of the liver and it will return to normal size within three months of a substantial hepatectomy.

Other solid organs, such as the lungs, kidneys and pancreas, adjust to tissue loss but can’t return to full function.

The liver plays three key roles in the body: as a protein factory to maintain the thickness and consistency of blood; a filtration system that cleans the huge volume of blood that flows from the gastrointestinal tract back to the heart, and to support metabolic processing by creating bile, which aids food digestion and helps the body absorb medication.

The liver is the only solid organ that can use a regenerative mechanism to return to full capacity after it has been damaged

The liver is the only solid organ that can use a regenerative mechanism to return to full capacity after it has been damaged

The liver’s main functional cells are called hepatocytes. During liver regeneration, these proliferate and rapidly divide to restore liver mass and function.

The process is complex but a key factor is a reciprocal relationship between hepatocytes and endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels. Hepatocytes produce factors that help new blood vessels to feed the growing liver, and endothelial cells generate growth factors that help hepatocytes proliferate.

Non-solid organs can also have significant regenerative powers. Blood vessels can undergo angiogenesis, where new vessels form to replace damaged ones.

The skin is constantly renewing itself through cell division at the base of the epidermis. It can regenerate to heal wounds and replace damaged tissue. But deeper layers of skin do not go through this and so do not replace themselves.

Kavita Shah, Isleworth, Middx.



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