Korean Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs

The South Korean Customs service is training seven cloned Labrador retrievers in the fine art of serving as a drug-sniffing canine. The dogs were born six months ago after being cloned from a drug-sniffing dog in active service.

(From 'Toppy' Cloned Korean drug-sniffing dogs)

If you think it's expensive to clone dogs, you're right; each dog cost from $100,000 $150,000 to clone from the source DNA. But here's the rest of the story.

First, only about one dog in ten can pass a behavior test to determine if they are genetically qualified to be a sniffing dog. All seven of the cloned dogs passed the test.

Second, only about thirty percent of the selected dogs can actually pass the full training regimen, which costs about $40,000 per dog (pass or fail).

All of the dogs are called 'Toppy' - a combination of 'tomorrow' and 'puppy.'

Science fiction fans might consider this to be a commercial business use of the RePet technovelgy used in the film The Sixth Day, released in 2000. See the RePet infomercial video below.

(RePet infomercial from 'The Sixth Day')

The cloning research and work was done by a team of Seoul National University scientists led by Professor Lee Byeong-chun. Now, if only they could master syncording, which is the fictional technology in The Sixth Day that assured that your new RePet was behaviorally identical to your old pet, they wouldn't even need to train them!

Read also about Cloned Cats Have 9+n Lives; don't forget Bokanovsky's Process, a very early description of cloning from Brave New World.

Story via South Korea to use cloned dogs to sniff for drugs and explosives; thanks to Moira for finding this story and the sf reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/27/2008)

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