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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 11:49 GMT
First order for pet dog cloning
Pitbull terrier
The South Korean firm hopes to clone hundreds more dogs
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.

Commercial cloning

RNL Bio says this is the first time a dog will have been cloned commercially.

"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 cost of cloning a dog may come down to less than $50,000
Cho Seong-Ryul, RNL Bio

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.

Dog attack

The pitbull's owner, Bernann McKunney, gave the company ear tissue, which an American biotech firm preserved before the animal died 18 months ago.

Snuppy, left, with surrogate mother
An Afghan hound was the first dog cloned by the SNU team

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.

They continued with the programme, cloning more dogs and also producing clones of Korean grey wolves.



SEE ALSO
S Korea unveils first dog clone
03 Aug 05 |  Science/Nature
Korea's national shock at scandal
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US approves animal clones as food
15 Jan 08 |  Science/Nature
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29 Dec 07 |  Science/Nature
First cloned horse unveiled in Italy
06 Aug 03 |  Science/Nature

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