ORDER FOR PET DOG CLONING
A South Korean company says it has taken its first order for the cloning
of a pet dog.
A woman from the United States wants her dead pitbull
terrier - called Booger - re-created.
RNL Bio is charging the woman, from California, $150,000 (£76,000) to clone the pitbull using tissue extracted from its ear
before it died.
The work will be carried out by a team from Seoul National University, where the first dog was cloned in 2005.
RNL Bio says this is the first time a dog will have been
"There are many people who want to clone their pet dogs
in Western countries even at this high price," company chief executive, Ra Jeong-chan, told the Korea Times.
The firm is expecting hundreds more orders
for pets over the next few years and also plans to clone dogs trained to sniff out bombs or drugs.
One out of every four surrogate mother dogs produces
puppies, according to RNL Bio's marketing director, Cho Seong-ryul.
"The cost of cloning a dog may come down to less than
$50,000 as cloning is becoming an industry," he said.
The pitbull's owner, Bernann McKunney, gave the company
ear tissue, which an American biotech firm preserved before the animal died 18 months ago.
She is said to have been particularly
attached to the dog, after it saved her life when another dog attacked her and bit off her arm.
The university's team is led by Professor Lee Byeong-chun,
who was previously in a team headed by the disgraced stem cell scientist, Hwang Woo-suk.
Mr Hwang's results on cloning human stem cells, initially
hailed as a breakthrough, were found to have been falsified and he is now on trial charged with embezzlement and fake research.
But the team did succeed in creating the world's first
cloned dog two years ago - an Afghan hound named Snuppy.
with the programme, cloning more dogs and also producing clones of Korean grey wolves.