A couple in Britain was successful in cloning two puppies via a South Korean biotech firm from DNA samples which were taken 12 days after the death of their beloved boxer. Laura Jacques and Richard Remde from West Yorkshire paid a total of $100,000 to the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, an organization that provides commercial dog cloning. Sadly, their eight year old boxer Dylan died of a brain tumor back in June. The proud Jacques said, “The biggest challenge was finding a refrigerator big enough to immediately store his dead body.”
The foundation advises clients to refrigerate (not freeze) the bodies of the deceased pets in order to gain the best possible DNA samples according to their website. As a home builder, Remde had to fly to Seoul two times to deliver the DNA samples which were implanted into dog eggs that have had the nucleus removed. Through a series of electric shocks given to trigger cell division, implantations were then made into a surrogate mother dog last October. The lab has cloned 700 dogs to date with a 40% pregnancy rate. This is the world’s highest.
“This is surreal,” says Jacques. She’s a professional dog walker who was able to witness the birth led by Hwang Woo-Suk. Hwang is a scientist who has stirred a lot of controversy as well as a former professor at Seoul National University (who falsely claimed to have cloned a human embryo in a test tube.)
The puppy was born with identical features of Dylan the boxer: white patches on the left side of the nose and chest and paws. “Clones will be genetically identical but personality could be different based on rearing environment. Basically, it’s nature versus nurture,” says David Kim, a researcher at Sooam Biotech.
Despite all of the intrigue surrounding these kings of the deep, no one has ever actually managed to...