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You can clone a cat, but you can’t clone its memories. That was a key legal point in a Feb. 8 deal between Sausalito-based Genetic Savings & Clone and an unidentified Southern California feline enthusiast who paid $50,000 to clone Gizmo, a Siamese mix who died in March 2004. “Some people are under the false assumption that the pet is going to remember them,” said Vice President Mike Hodnett. “We draw the line at saying that we’ll guarantee the personality and the memories of the pet.” With that issue out of the way, Hodnett said the squishy ethical ground occupied by cloning doesn’t make for legal complications when a clone goes to market. Instead, he said, much of the legal language in the contracts with customers is aimed at the nuts and bolts of explaining exactly what S&C can and cannot guarantee. The contract is aimed at making customers “totally secure that we will deliver them a pet that’s genetically identical to their past pet, and that it’s healthy,” Hodnett said. Photographs of Gizmo and his techno-twin, Little Gizmo, certainly show a familial resemblance. And according to the company’s Web site, Little Gizmo’s owner (identified only as Dan) says the bio-doppelganger has remarkably similar mannerisms to its predecessor. The company has so far delivered two cloned kittens — the first was Little Nicky, who was sent to owners in Dallas in December. Hodnett said many of the legal issues were worked out with clients in personal conversations. “A lot of this is in the negotiation and explaining our services process,” he said. Once that’s done, Ryan Murr, an associate in Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe’s San Diego office, vets the contract to make sure all the legal language is in place. Murr declined to comment, saying he was awaiting permission to talk from Savings & Clone CEO Lou Hawthorne. Hodnett said that over the next year, the company plans to clone another 20 to 30 cats, and hopefully move on to dogs. The idea, he said, is for the venture-funded firm to one day go public. But he puts some limits on the company’s growth. “We’re not going to go into anything other than dogs and cats, except maybe horses,” said Hodnett. — Justin Scheck DEAL OF THE CONDOR Condors, nature lovers and the National Park Service are the beneficiaries of a real estate deal that extends the reach of Pinnacles National Monument. The Nature Conservancy purchased nearly 2,000 acres next to the park for $5.3 million in order to hold it for the National Park Service, which is seeking federal funding to buy the land. The new acreage, known as the Pinnacles Ranch property, already serves as the primary entrance to the monument. “Most of the park is steep territory,” said William Hunter, a senior attorney at the Nature Conservancy’s San Francisco office who handled the deal. The ranch has valley oak habitat and “adds a campground and great foraging territory for the condors.” Located 40 minutes south of Hollister in the Gabilan Mountains, the Pinnacles Monument is on the remains of an ancient volcano. In the past year, the National Park Service has reintroduced a dozen condors into the 24,000-acre park. The Nature Conservancy said that while the monument’s volcanic rock faces offer prime nesting terrain for the condors, the ranch’s grassy slopes and oak woodlands are their preferred foraging grounds. Hunter said the Park Service has raised about half the funds it needs to purchase the ranch property, and he anticipates Congress will appropriate the remaining money within the next two years. The Nature Conservancy stepped in to buy the land to avoid potential complications with the heirs of ranch owners Stuart and Peggy Kingman. They own the land with another family and one entity. A deal was worked out so that the Kingmans can live on the ranch property under a five-year renewable lease. “The idea is that they’ll live there the rest of their life,” said Natalie Delagnes, of San Francisco’s Delagnes, Linder & Duey. Delagnes and her father, R. Michael Delagnes, represented the ranch owners. — Brenda Sandburg

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