Thanks to Channelnewsasia.com for this article.
SKorea cloning experts plan production-line pups
Posted: 10 July 2007
SEOUL – South Korean scientists are to clone drug-sniffing dogs for the country’s customs service in the world’s first commercial canine cloning deal, officials and reports said Tuesday.
“We signed a memorandum of understanding with a team of researchers at Seoul National University last month to produce cloned drug-sniffing dogs,” a customs spokesman told AFP.
He declined to elaborate on the terms of the contract.
Senior researcher Kim Min-Kyu said his team had already obtained somatic cells from drug-sniffing dogs to start cloning them in July or August, with a view to obtaining puppies late this year at the earliest.
“In the near future, we plan to establish an animal cloning centre at Seoul National University to clone precious dogs such as guide dogs or drug-sniffing dogs,” Kim was quoted by the Korea Times as saying.
The paper said it was the world’s first attempt to create canine clones commercially.
Demand for dogs able to sniff out drugs and explosives has surged following the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States.
Kim Min-Kyu played a key role in creating the world’s first cloned dog, an Afghan hound called Snuppy, in 2005 and in producing three other cloned dogs last year.
But the feat was underestimated because of the team’s links to a disgraced stem cell scientist, Hwang Woo-Suk.
Hwang, once hailed as a national hero before a university inquiry ruled his work was fake, is on trial for embezzlement and fake research. He has insisted that he can still prove he created the first cloned human stem cells.