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Scientists from Seoul in South Korea say they will be cloning a UK dog for the first time, as part of a documentary to air on Channel 4. According to the team of experts at Sooam Biotech, they can clone a dog in just two months by taking a biopsy from the living animal and replicating it to produce a man-made embryo.
In addition, they say the cells can be banked and activated at a later date. The technique was reportedly pioneered in 2005 by Dr Woo Suk Hwang, the chief technical officer at Sooam. Despite being one of the most difficult animals to clone, Dr Hwang claims he has now successfully replicated at least 400 dogs – an important step, he believes, in the preservation of rare breeds.
Scientist at the company, Insung Hwang, says: “We can clone any breed, size or shape of canine and are coming to the UK to offer this process to the owner of one very special dog.” The process, however, is not cheap, with a price tag of £63,000 for the cloning of one dog. As part of the Channel 4 documentary, one British dog owner will have their pet cloned for free.
Channel 4 is set to air the documentary next year, following the process of the UK’s first dog cloning.