Friday, 25 Apr, 2008 Offbeat

Cloned Dogs Will Serve for the South Korean Customs


Labrador retriever cloned dogs will serve for the South Korean customsThe customs service of South Korea has unveiled seven cloned Labrador retrievers, bred to serve at the customs and sniff out explosive materials and drugs at ports and airports.

The institution responsible for cloning of the Labrador retrievers was Seoul National University, whose scientists cloned the first dog in 2005. The leader of the scientific team is a former aide of Hwang Woo-suk, Lee Byeong-chun. Doctor Hwang made a series of breakthroughs on stem cell research, which though turned out to be false. However, independent tests showed that the cloning of the dogs was genuine.

The cloned sniffers were born five to six months ago. The donor, the dog to provide the cells for the cloning, was an experienced drug-sniffing Labrador. All of the cloned dogs share one name - "Toppy", which is a combination of the words "tomorrow" and "puppy".

A trainer at a dogs' training center near Incheon airport, Kim Nak-seung, said that these dogs are of a superior nature, since they are extremely active and are successful in training. Two months ago all the dogs passed a test, which was to prove their qualification for working as sniffing dogs. Normally, the percentage of naturally born dogs to pass the test is of only 10-15%.

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