Your dog has passed away but you had the foresight to take a sample of its DNA, and you have $100,000 to spend – Sooam Biotech can spend your money on cloning Fido or Fifi. The South Korean company is the only one in the world to offer a commercial dog cloning service. In 2013, 100 dogs belonging to wealthy customers around the world were cloned, according to a France Info reporter who met with members of the institute in Seoul.
By cloning the owners hope to ‘resurrect’ their pet. But Anna Song, veterinarian and researcher, warns: “Customers find that the personality of the cloned dogs is very similar – they tell me that their behaviour is the same as that of their deceased pet. But in fact, these behaviors may vary! How you raise your dog will affect its personality.”
Korean police also avail themselves of the Korean company services – several of their best police dogs have been cloned. Land at Incheon International Airport and you’ll find that one of three cloned dogs are sniffing your luggage.
Return of the mammoth ?
Having successfully cloned coyote cubs, Dr. Hwang Woo- suk, who founded the Institute, says his latest project is to bring back the woolly mammoth, a creature that last stomped the Earth 10,000 years ago. A team of scientists from the company now work in Siberia. Anna Song explained: “Today, the permafrost in Siberia is melting, so we can find many mammoth samples. We discovered intact DNA in the bone marrow. But, with current technology, we need a whole viable cell, and we are still searching for it.”
Hwang Woo- suk is a controversial figure and is often criticized, in particular by the scientific community who kicked him out for falsifying the results of some of his research. That wooly mammoth may have to wait a bit longer under all that ice…