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Competition offers one Briton a chance to clone their dog

Posted by: Deborah Bates  Date: 25/10/2013   Category: Latest News

A competition launched by South Korean company Sooam Biotech will see one lucky winner have their dog cloned – for free.

Sooam Biotech is offering the prize (worth £63,000) as part of its launch into the UK market. The company prides itself on creating a clone with the same genetic code and said it can undertake the process of any breed of dog.

Insung Hwang, one of Sooam Biotech’s scientist, said the company would welcome applications from any British dog owner who wants to take part in what he calls an “exciting new advance in biotechnology”. In fact, the company’s chief technical officer, Dr Woo Suk Hwang, says he has cloned 400 dogs successfully.

However Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, a genetics expert, warns Britons to take Sooam Biotech’s claims with a pinch of salt.

He explained the potential downfalls of the cloning process, stating: “While it can give an animal that is genetically identical to the original dog from which cells are taken, it will not be completely identical in its ‘phenotype’: its appearance, anatomy, physiology and behaviour.”

It is Lovell-Badge’s view that as such, pet owners would treat the clone in a different way. Although he recognises the strong bond owners have with their dogs and how this can lead to a desire to have them back, post-death, he called letting go of our animals “an important aspect” of the relationship.