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Cloned dogs begin training

THE WORLD’S first cloned sniffer dogs have begun training in South Korea.

Cloned dogsThe seven cloned puppies, called Toppy (Tomorrow’s Puppy) were born in late 2007 to three surrogate mothers under a state-funded project.

The South Korea customs representative Lee Ho told the AFP that the Toppies have already passed the first round of tests for genetic qualities and behavioural patterns.

‘They will report for duty in June after completing a second round of training,’ he added.

Only about 30% of naturally born sniffer dogs make the grade, but South Korean scientists believe that could rise to 90% using the cloning method.

The $300-million project was carried out by Lee Byung-Chun, who played a major role in the world’s first successful dog cloning, made by creating a duplicate of an Afghan Hound.

Project manager Lim Jae-Yong said: ‘This is the first time that cloned dogs have been used as sniffer dogs.’

Lee was a former colleague of the disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk, who was once hailed as a national hero after his team achieved the world’s first cloned dog named Snuppy. He left Woo-Suk after being indicted for fraud, ethical breaches, embezzlement and other charges in 2006, while Lee led his own research team. Hwang claims that he created the first human stem cells through his cloning efforts, but was ruled in January 2007 to be fake.