The controversial South Korean scientist widely viewed as the father of dog cloning has announced he will team up with a Russian university to clone a woolly mammoth, 4,500 years after the species went extinct.
Hwang Woo Suk, head of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, signed a research pact this week with Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) to clone the creature from remains found in Siberia.
According to a news release on the Sooam website, scientists plan to gather egg cells from elephants, replace their nuclei with mammoth’s somatic cells, provided by the Russian university, and implant any resulting embryos into more elephants.
Sooam says it plans to begin the process this year. If successful, a woolly mammoth clone would be born after a 22-month pregnancy.
Hwang was a veterinarian at Seoul National University when his team cloned the world’s first dog in 2005 — an Afghan hound named Snuppy.
Two years later, he would be fired and criminally charged after irregularities were discovered in his human stem cell research. Hwang claimed to have cloned human embryos and created lines of human stem cells from them.
Hwang would receive a two-year suspended sentence for using eggs from his own researchers, embezzlement and falsifying data.
After his firing, he opened his own lab, Sooam, with funding from supporters, where he has continued to clone dogs for pet owners, and continued non-human research projects.
According to the press release, NEFU will continue expeditions to collect biological samples of mammoth remains in Siberia, with help from Sooam. Those samples will be exported to South Korea.
The press release notes that NEFU has been collaborating with the Japanese for more than 10 years on the mammoth restoration project, but without any official agreement.
Over the last three years, the remains of two mammoths have been discovered in the Sakha Republic in the northeast part of Russia. Those remains found in the permafrost layer are often well-preserved and suitable for use in cloning, the press release says.
(Photo credits: Mammoths by Mauricio Anton / Plos; Hwang and Snuppy photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, animals, biotech, biotechnology, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, coyote, dog, dogs, extinct, hwang woo suk, mammoth, north-eastern federal university, pact, pets, project, russia, science, siberia, snuppy, sooam, sooam biotech research foundation, south korea, species, wolves, woolly mammoth, wooly mammoth
Old Blue passed away a few years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
New Blue, a cloned copy of the original — a mastiff-Great Dane mix — is now 12 weeks old and, according to his veterinarian, thriving.
The dog’s unidentified owner paid $100,000 for the genetic duplicate, which was produced in a laboratory in South Korea.
You can see a story and video about Blue on KOAT, but its a bit off the mark when it estimates there are seven dog clones living in the U.S. It’s actually closer to 25.
The story doesn’t mention the name of the South Korean company that cloned the dog, or that of the dog’s owner.
An American company, which has since gone out of business, brought at least 17 cloned dogs into the U.S. Those clonings were performed by Hwang Woo Suk, the scientist, who, after leading the team that cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy, was fired from Seoul National University for falsifying results of human embryo research. He went on to open his own lab, Sooam Institute, which has cloned scores, if not hundreds, of dogs.
A second South Korean company, RNL Bio, continues to market the service, and is cloning dogs for bereaved pet owners, laboratory use and government duties, such as providing security at Seoul’s Incheon Airport.
The history and ethics of dog cloning, and the marketing of the service to pet owners — which began before the first dog was even cloned — are recounted in my book, “DOG, INC: The Uncanny Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” soon to be available in paperback.
As for Blue, his local veterinarian, Dr. David Caffey reports, “he has a great personality” and is in good health.
Caffey revealed few details about the dog’s owner, and called the cloning ”a special situation.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blue, book, clone, cloned, cloned dogs, clones, cloning, dead, dog clones, dog inc., dogs, genetics, great dane, mastiff, mix, new blue, old blue, pets, reproduction, RNL Bio, science, snuppy, south korea
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk unveiled his latest cloning achievement yesterday – eight cloned coyotes, created by inserting the nuclei of coyote skin cells into harvested dog eggs.
The coyotes were presented to a wild animal shelter at Pyeongtaek, 35 miles south of Seoul, in a ceremony chaired by Gyeonggi province governor Kim Moon-Soo, Yahoo News reports.
The project was sponsored by the provincial government.
Hwang, whose feats and frauds are recounted in my book, “Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Man’s Best Friend,” is a former Seoul National University scientist who was fired when some of his research into creating human stem cells from a cloned embryo was found to be faked.
He was also head of the SNU research team that produced Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2005.
I met Hwang in 2009, but wasn’t allowed to interview him, when I visited his private laboratory outside of Seoul. That’s where I took the photo of him above, after being invited to watch a dog cloning procedure.
By then, Hwang had left SNU, started his own lab and was cloning dogs for an American company that had auctioned off dog clonings to pet owners online.
The American company later went out of business, citing, among other things, animal welfare concerns and the relatively small market for dog cloning — it at the time costing $150,00 or so.
In addition to Hwang’s lab, another Korean company, RNL Bio, continues to clone dogs for pet owners, government agencies, and for medical use.
Hwang enjoyed international fame for a few years after successfully cloning the world’s first dog and for his research into human stem cells.
But his reputation was tarnished in 2005 when allegations surfaced that he had violated medical ethics by using human eggs from his own researchers. He was also found to have embezzled funds and faked some of his findings.
Despite that, he still had enough support to establish his own lab, in the mountains outside Seoul, where, while banned from further research invovling cloning human embryos, he was permitted to continue his research into canine cloning
In 2009 he received a two-year suspended sentence for embezzling research funds and ethical lapses in obtaining human eggs. Last December an appeals court reduced the penalty to an 18-month suspended sentence.
To clone a coyote, Hwang took cells from the skin of a coyote, and transplanted their nuclei into enucleated dog eggs. An electric jolt was applied to lead the cells to begin dividing, after which the eggs were implanted into surrogate mother dogs.
The first coyote clone was born on June 17.
The Gyeonggi governor praised Hwang and said further cloning projects were in the works: “The cloning of an African wild dog is under way, and we will attempt to clone a mammoth in the future,” he said.
(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cells, cloned, clones, cloning, coyote, coyotes, dog, dog inc., dogs, fraud, gyeonggi, human embryos, hwang woo suk, mammoth, pets, province, research, science, seoul national university, snuppy, south korea, stem cells
I’m looking forward to seeing “Tabloid” — the new Errol Morris documentary about the 1978 scandal that saw a beauty queen from America go to London to track down the object of her affection (a Mormon missionary named Kirk), kidnap him, according to police, and, if you believe the court testimony, have her way with him against his will.
That’s because, for better and worse, that woman, Joyce McKinney, changed the course of my life, too.
Thirty years after the scandal that erupted when McKinney tried to reclaim, one way or another, the man she saw as her one true love, I would spend more than 100 hours on the phone with her as she went about an equally — or perhaps even more — dogged pursuit.
“Tabloid,” the documentary, focuses on the scandal and all the fun the British press had with McKinney’s exploits — from her arrest on charges of abducting the young missionary named Kirk and keeping him tied up in a cottage in the countryside, to the celebrity status she enjoyed after her release from jail, to her fleeing the country before trial disguised as a member of a deaf mime troupe.
My book focuses on dog cloning, the first commercial customer of which was that same Joyce Bernann McKinney. In 2009, McKinney became the first person in the world – unassociated with the fledgling business – to pay to have her dog cloned, a deceased pit bull named Booger.
My book revisits the old scandal, too, because, to me, there seemed to be some similarities between reclaiming Kirk and cloning Booger.
As suggested in ”DOG INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” both were attempts to, at any cost, recapture lost love — one through feminine wiles, if not force, the other through science.
As if her life hadn’t already oozed enough pathos and irony, McKinney’s attempt to resurrect Booger, or at least bring a genetically identical copy of him back into the world, would lead to an embarassing resurfacing of the old scandal. While doing news media interviews, in exchange for a discount on her cloning bill, she was recognized as the women who, as the British tabloids told the story at the time, manacled and raped the young Mormon missionary.
By 2000, McKinney had thought the scandal was finally behind her. She’d gone on to a new life by then, after years as recluse, living with her dogs and other animals, first in North Carolina, then in California. In California, she began using the name Bernann instead of Joyce and, having not lost her soft spot for dogs, continued taking in abandoned and unwanted pit bulls.
All were loved, but none were Booger, a dog she found on the highway in North Carolina who she says later saved her life when she was attacked by another of her dogs. After that, Booger went on to become her unofficial service dog, helping her with the day to day tasks her injuries made difficult.
After Booger died, she sought to have him cloned — first through an American company that was working with Texas A & M University to clone a dog. That research was funded by John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix. Unable to produce a canine clone, Texas A & M dropped the project. Scientists at Seoul National University picked up the research and cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy, in 2005. McKinney then signed on with a South Korean company that had formed after that success.
McKinney first contacted me while I was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun, after I ran an item about dog cloning on the newspaper’s pet blog that mentioned a then-anonymous woman who was paying $150,000 to have her dog cloned.
So began a conversation that would continue, off and on, for a year, and lead me to quit my job, travel to Korea, and write a book about dog cloning.
While we hit it off initially — both being dog lovers, both being from North Carolina — McKinney, as the months went on, would grow angry with me often. The first time was when I told her that, rather than writing a book with her about Booger, I wanted to write a book that looked at dog cloning overall — how the new business got started, how it was being marketed, and the animal welfare concerns it raised.
That would be the first of our many “break-ups.” But always, she would eventually call me back, updating me and seeking assistance with this or that.
On her trip to meet the newborn clones, during which she appeared globally in TV interviews, someone made the connection, raising the possibility, later confirmed, that the woman cloning her dog and the “Mormon manacler” were one in the same. She blamed me for that, though I had nothing to do with it.
She had feared there was a possibility that might happen. I was pretty sure it would. (Although I had written a newspaper story by then, it didn’t mention the 1970s scandal; at the time she had only vaguely referred to it and I had only reached 99 percent certainty that she was the same woman — a fact that she would confirm, and go into great detail about, later.)
After another period of silence, she reconnected with me again, this time asking me to go with her to pick up the clones. She wanted me to pretend I was handicapped so that I could claim one of the clones was my service dog, and she — if she found three more conspirators — could avoid having them fly home in the jet’s cargo hold.
For ethical reasons, I declined. But she still stayed in touch during her trip to pick up and return the dogs, an effort that didn’t go smoothly, as you can read in this excerpt from “DOG, INC.”
Back home with her clones, her troubles continued. At one point, all five clones, and her other dogs, were seized and impounded by animal control, though she managed to reclaim them.
After an argument, she moved out of the house she shared with a friend, bounced with the clones from motel to motel, and eventually moved back in.
That was about the time she was contacted by Morris.
I’m sure Morris, as was the case with me, found that dealing with her, to put it mildly, had some ups and downs. She, while appearing with one of the clones at an early screening of the movie, denounced its accuracy, even as Morris stood next to her.
I won’t see it until this weekend, but I’d guess, from what I’ve seen of previews and knowing the work of Morris, it fairly portrays all sides. And given his trademark style of turning on the camera and letting the subject talk into it, I’m sure McKinney gets ample chance to share her version.
I’ve only spoken with her once since my book came out, when she called, enraged, having seen a reference to it in a newspaper. She hadn’t read it by then, but denounced it, too, adding that I had no right to tell her story — either that of the scandal or that of the cloning.
McKinney told me repeatedly she didn’t want to see the two stories overlap — for she saw one as “tabloid filth” and the other — cloning her dog — as pure and heartwarming. Her hope is to start a center where pit bulls can be trained to be service dogs. She wants to call it Booger’s Place.
Some of those who see the movie, or for that matter read my book, may see her as manipulative and devious. Some may see her, in connection with the scandal, as a woman who holds little respect for the boundaries society imposes. Some may see her, in connection with cloning, as a person who was willing to jump over those nature imposes, as well. Some may see her, overall, as a person who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
I’ll say this much: She is without a doubt the most determined person I’ve ever known.
(John will be discussing and signing copies of “DOG, INC.” from 6 to 8 p.m. at Barnhills, 811 Burke St., in Winston-Salem.)
(John will be speaking after the 3:30 and 6 p.m. showings of “Tabloid” at the Aperture Cinema, 311 W. Fourth St., in Winston-Salem, this Sunday, Aug. 21.)
(For more information on “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abducted, author, booger, british, clone, cloned, cloning, documentary, dog inc., england, errol morris, john woestendiek, joyce mckinney, kidnap, kinky sex, kirk, london, manacles, media, missionary, mormon, newspapers, pit bull, press, rape, scandal, sex, sex scandal, snuppy, south korea, tabloid
The Korea Dog Farmers’ Association had scheduled the festival for Friday, to be held in the traditional open-air market in the city of Seongnam just south of Seoul — the one I visited while researching my book, and where I took the photos that appear on this page.
Moran Market is a block long outdoor market that sells, produce, vegetable, herbs and animals, including dogs, which can be butchered to order. One can pick a live dog, for $100-$150 and have it butchered. About two-thirds of the dog meat sold in Seoul (not counting that prepared in restaurants) is sold there.
The festival planned to showcase various canine delicacies including barbecued dog, sausages and steamed paws. Also featured would have been cosmetics and spirits made with canine ingredients.
But South Korea’s young and burgeoning animal welfare movement, and concerns over international perceptions, managed to bring those plans to a halt, said Ann Yong-Geun, an adviser to the Dog Farmers Association.
“We couldn’t possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint… now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event,” Ann, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University, told AFP.
Ann said the festival would have displayed video clips and pictures of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions, contrary to public perceptions.
About 600 farms raise dogs for meat in South Korea, where their meat has long been eaten by a portion of the population. Dog soup, or Boshintang, is considered, by some, a summer delicacy.
Growing numbers of Koreans oppose the practice and consider it an international embarrassment. The planned festival sparked opposition from South Korean animal rights groups and many Internet users.
“This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs,” said Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.
I got to meet Park during my visit to Seoul, while researching my book, “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.”
It was in Seoul that the first dog clone was produced (Snuppy), an achievement that was in part due to scientist’s easy access to farm dogs for use as egg donors and surrogates. The successful cloning of dog led to the formation of two companies — one in the U.S. and one in Seoul. Only the one in Seoul remains, and continues to clone dogs for profit.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, animals, boshintang, canceled, clone, cloned, cloning, coexistence of animal rights on earth, complaints, culture, dog, dog farmers, dog inc., dog market, dog meat, dog meat festival, dogs, eat, eating, eating dogs, farm dogs, farms, festival, international, issue, korea, moran market, opposition, park so-youn, perception, pets, photos, seoul, snuppy, south korea
Ace and I will be appearing at the Aperture Cinema in Winston-Salem this week for a group discussion following the showing of the animated movie, “My Dog Tulip,” based on J.R. Ackerley’s memoir of his relationship with his dog.
I’ll also be talking about, selling and signing my new book, “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.”
If you’re wondering what the human-dog bond, or a memoir about that, have in common with cloning, the answer is:
For, in addition to the profits foreseen by entrepreneurs, it was that bond – tighter-than-ever as the 21st Century arrived– that sparked the attempt to clone dogs, prompted customers to sign up for it and led to the emergence of a fledgling, and highly questionable, pet cloning industry.
And what, after all, is a dog clone but a living, breathing, laboratory re-creation of the past — a memoir you can pet?
The first dog whose cloning was attempted by U.S. scientists, in fact, was a border collie mix who belonged to — you guessed it — a memoir writer. Missy, as it turned out, wasn’t the first dog cloned. South Korean scientists accomplished that first with an Afghan hound, whose clone would be named Snuppy. But Missy was eventually cloned — more than five times.
Cloning wasn’t available in J.R. Ackerley’s day (the British writer died in 1967), but given the love he expressed for his German shepherd, given his many unsuccesful attempts to breed her to another purebred “Alsatian,” given the void she filled in his life and the one her passing left in it, he might have considered it, if it had been.
“Tulip,” whose real name was Queenie — publishers opted to change it, fearing its gay connotations might be too titillating for stuffy old 1950′s England – spent 14 years with Ackerley, and according to some accounts he never quite got over her death.
“She offered me what I had never found in my life with humans: constant, single-hearted, incorruptible, uncritical devotion, which it is in the nature of dogs to offer,” he says in the book, written while she was still alive.
The movie — though, like the book, it doesn’t shy away from dogs’ bodily functions — is charming and charmingly animated, drawn and directed by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, and narrated by Christopher Plummer, in the role of Ackerley. It also features the voices of Isabella Rossellini and Lynn Redgrave.
It tells the story of a man who, having all but given up on finding an “ideal friend” in the human world, finds one in a canine — the first dog he’s had in his life.
I’ll be leaving my ideal friend home tonight, but Ace, if he feels up to it, is scheduled to join me at the theater Wednesday night.
The movie starts at 8 p.m., both nights, with the discussion following. The Aperture Cinema is at 311 W. 4th St. in downtown Winston-Salem.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alsatian, animals, aperture, bond, book, book signing, cinema, cloning, dog, dog inc., dogs, friends, german shepherd, human, ideal friend, jr ackerley, loss, love, man's best friend, memoirs, missy, my dog tulip, north carolina, pets, queenie, snuppy, tulip, unconditional, void, winston-salem
I’ve written my name in books before — but always as a reminder to other people to keep their grubby paws off of them, or at least return them when they’re done.
But yesterday was a first: I signed my own book — own, as in the one I wrote.
So when my publisher called to find out where to send the author’s copies of “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” I used my brother’s address, and he delivered them over the weekend.
I won’t compare the excitement of tearing open that cardboard box to seeing your baby arrive — that would be wrong — but there are some similarities, the main ones being, “Wow, that came out of me?” and the realization that all the labor pains were worth it after all.
The book is about the cloning of dogs — how, and why, it came to be achieved, and the colorful characters involved: from the Arizona billionaire who funded the initial research; to the scientists who produced Snuppy, the first canine clone, in South Korea; to those who marketed the service (even before the first dog was cloned); to those who bought it, the bereaved pet owners seeking replicas of dogs dead or near death.
It was two years in the making (the book, not dog cloning) — a project I undertook right after I left the Baltimore Sun, and one that wouldn’t have been accomplished were it not for the help of a lot of people.
My first autographed copy is being sent to one of them, Rona Kim, a law student in Seoul who served as my guide and interpreter during my visit to Korea, and without whom I would have probably spent three-fourths of my time there hopelessly lost.
The official release date of “DOG, INC.” is Dec. 30, but it can be pre-ordered now from all the major retailers.
By then, Ace and I will be headed back east — first to Washington for a scheduled appearance on the Diane Rehm show Jan. 5 (me, not Ace), then to Baltimore, where we hope to host a couple of book signing parties (details to come) and find a place to call home.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, author, autographed, baltimore, book, book signing, books, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dead, death, dog, dog inc., dogs, grief, john woestendiek, korea, man's best friend, marketing, new release, non-fiction, order, pets, pre order, publishing, release, rona kim, science, scientists, seoul, signing, snuppy, travels with ace, uncanny inside story
The only U.S. biotech company involved in cloning dogs commercially is pulling out of the business, according to the Korea Times.
Lou Hawthorne, the chief executive of California-based BioArts, said the company will discontinue cloning dogs for customers in light of failed legal efforts to prevent a South Korean rival company from offering cloning services.
In an e-mailed statement to the newspaper, Hawthorne condemned the Korean company, RNL Bio in Seoul, as “black-market cloners,” and also claimed that the occasional physical anomalies of its cloned puppies proved that cloning is a technology “not ready for prime time.”
BioArts has completed the delivery of cloned dogs to five clients — all bidders in an online auction held this summer, the company said.
The withdrawl of BioArts from dog cloning leaves RNL Bio as the world’s only company involved in the commercial cloning of dogs.
RNL recently announced plans to open a canine cloning center in Korea next year, where it plans to produce 1,000 cloned dogs per year by 2013.
BioArts had insisted it held the sole rights to clone dogs, cats and other mammals under licenses from Start Licensing, which acquired the rights to the technology developed to clone Dolly the sheep from the Roslin Institute.
Start Licensing filed a lawsuit against RNL Bio for patent infringement last October, but Hawthorne said Start Licensing’s legal response was “too little, too late.”
“It became apparent that Start was unwilling either to commit to defend their cloning patents against infringers or grant to BioArts the right to do so on their behalf,” Hawthorne said.
“Start was afraid to defend their patents against challengers in the dog cloning space because if they lost, they might also lose the ability to control markets they actually cared about — mainly agricultural cloning. Start’s strong preference was to do nothing to defend the dog cloning market against patent infringers.”
In closing its cloning business, BioArts also ended its partnership with Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, which is led by scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who was fired from Seoul National University shortly after the announcement that it had cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy.
While Snuppy was verified to be a clone, Hwang’s studies on cloned human stem cells were exposed as fraudulent, leading to criminal charges.
(Photos: Top, James Symington receiving five clones of his dead search and rescue dog Trakr. Symington, who won BioArts “Golden Clone Giveaway” contest, says Trakr found the last survivor at 9-11; by John Woestendiek. Left, Lou Hawthorne with three clones of his mother’s dog, Missy; courtesy of BioArts)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, bioarts, biotech, business, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dog, golden clone giveaway, hwang woo suk, korea, lou hawthorne, rivalry, RNL Bio, seoul, seoul national university, snuppy, symington
Offspring of Snuppy — the world’s first cloned dog — are being offered to the public by Seoul National University, where Snuppy was created in 2005.
The Korea Times reports that applications are being accepted, and the nine puppies will be given to good homes at no charge.
The puppies aren’t clones themselves, but are the offspring of Snuppy and two female Afghans that were cloned at SNU to serve as his girlfriends, and for research purposes — namely to determine whether two cloned dogs can produce pups the natural way, or at least through artificial insemination.
Snuppy became a father in May last year after impregnating the two female clones, named Bona and Hope. It was the world’s first successful breeding involving only cloned canines. One of the 10 puppies died after birth, but the remaining nine — six males and three females — remain healthy.
Lee Byeong-chun, one of the leaders of the team that created Snuppy, said the school will take online applications until Oct. 31 and offer the puppies to pet owners for free after a screening process. Each dog will be spayed or neutered.
“We will look through the applications and give the dogs to owners who we believe are most capable of raising them,” Lee said.
Lee’s team used artificial insemination to impregnate the two cloned Afghan hound females with Snuppy’s sperm last year.
Lee collaborated with now-disgraced gene scientist Hwang Woo-suk in the creation of Snuppy in 2005. Hwang was fired from SNU in the following year after his work on cloned human stem cells was exposed as fraudulent.
Since then, both men have continued to clone dogs — Lee at SNU and Hwang at a private facility he opened outside Seoul in 2007.
Lee had also announced plans to mate the world’s first cloned wolf, born in 2006, with other cloned wolves. Those plans took a blow earlier this week when the world’s first cloned wolf, Snuwolf, was found dead in a Seoul zoo.
(Photo: By John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghan, applications, bona, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dead, dog, dogs, free, hope, offered, puppies, seoul national university, snuppy, snuwolf, south korea, wolf, wolves
Six cloned drug-sniffing dogs have gone on duty at Seoul-Incheon International Airport in South Korea.
The dogs are among seven genetic duplicates of a single Labrador retriever named Chase, cloned at Seoul National University for use by the Korean Customs Service.
The dogs, having completed 16 months of training, will work at the airport and three other customs checkpoints to deter drug smuggling, according to the Associated Press.
They are part of a litter of seven born in 2007 through cloning a skilled drug-sniffing canine in active service. They were all named “Toppy” — a combination of the words “tomorrow” and “puppy.” One dropped out of training due to an injury.
The cloning was conducted by a team of Seoul National University scientists who in 2005 successfully created the world’s first dog clone, an Afghan hound named Snuppy.
The customs service says using clones could help reduce costs due to the difficulties in finding dogs qualified to sniff out contraband. Only about three of every 10 naturally born dogs the service trains end up qualifying for the job.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airport, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, customs, detection, drug, incheon, K-9, korea, korean, labrador, news, ohmidog!, puppy, seoul national university, service, sniffing, snuppy, south korea, tomorrow, toppy