I’m not sure if these scientists have just never broadened their educations to the understanding that every creature is a combination of Nature AND Nurture or they are so patently greedy that they are knowingly selling undeserved hope to a grieving woman. Either way, just cloning Booger will not guarantee that he will be the help to her that she wants.
I have no doubt that Booger II will look like Booger but all the training and experience it took for Booger to be such a help to her will NOT be part of the cloning. I feel very bad for this woman but for $50,000 she could adopt another helper Pit Bull and give the rest to help train dozens of others to help more people.
Thanks to FT.com for this article.
Ground-dog day as woman pays $50,000 to clone dead pitbull
By Anna Fifield in Seoul
Published: February 16 2008
The prospect of having nine lives is no longer the sole preserve of cats.
In a happy mix of science and commerce, man’s best friend can now live again and again – if the owner is besotted and rich enough.
The South Korean stem cell scientists who produced Snuppy, a cloned Afghan hound, have received the world’s first commercial order to clone a dog and are now preparing to recreate Booger, a pitbull terrier from California. It is an order they hope will lead to the production of as many as 500 born-again pets each year.
“We received an order from an American woman to clone her dog, Booger,” said Ra Jeong-Chan, chief executive of RNL Bio, the Korean company that will help Seoul National University stem cell scientists create Booger II. “She is disabled and has trouble walking, so Booger was a big help to her and she wants him back.”
The price for cloning a dog is set to be $150,000, but because this is the first order, and because the woman agreed to allow the event to be publicised, she is only being charged $50,000.
An SNU team of scientists produced the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy, in 2005 but the achievement was overshadowed by the sensational revelations that Hwang Woo-suk, the leader of the team, falsified research suggesting he had created the first human stem cells. However, the subsequent investigation into the production of Snuppy found that the dog was a genuine clone.
Scientists are now preparing to send cells from Booger to Korea, where they will be placed into surrogate mother dogs, meaning Booger II may breathe again in October.
Mr Ra said he expected his company to receive orders for specialist dogs such as drug and bomb sniffer dogs. He added that capacity will be increased in the hope that 100 “companion dogs” can be cloned from next year, and eventually 500 dogs annually.