Cloned dogs up to snuff as drug hounds

INCHEON, South Korea — The country that created the world’s first cloned canine plans to put duplicated dogs on patrol to sniff out drugs and explosives.

Korean Customs Service yesterday unveiled seven cloned Labrador retrievers being trained near Seoul’s Incheon Airport. The dogs were born six months ago after each was cloned from a skilled drug-sniffing canine in active service.

Finding dogs up to snuff for the critical job of detecting drugs can be time-consuming. Using cloned animals, officials say, will cut costs.

The cloning work was conducted by a team of Seoul National University scientists who in 2005 successfully created the world’s first known dog clone, an Afghan hound named Snuppy. The team is led by professor Lee Byeong-chun, a key aide to disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk. Hwang’s purported breakthroughs in stem-cell research were ruled false, but later tests proved the cloning was genuine.

In February, all seven dogs passed a behaviour test aimed at finding whether they are genetically qualified to work as sniffing dogs. Only 10% to 15% of naturally born dogs typically pass the test.

“They have a superior nature. They are active and excel in accepting the training,” said Kim Nak-seung at the Customs Service training centre. Lee of Seoul National University said it cost approximately $100,000 to $150,000 to clone each of the seven golden Labs.

He said the seven are the world’s first cloned drug-sniffing dogs.

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One Response

  1. Nice images…Ttechnology speaks everything…almost look similar….

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