Health Insider Update


South Korean Company will Clone your Dog for $100,000

South Korean Company will Clone your Dog for $100,000
October 04
14:13 2015

Ever wished you could bring old Spot back to life? Well now you can…sort of. If you have an extra $100,000 to spare, a South Korean company will create a clone of your favorite pup.

The two dogs pictured above, Ken and Henry, were “created” using DNA taken from Melvin, the beloved companion of Phillip and Paula Dupont. The Duponts live in Lafayette, Louisiana where they run a veterinary clinic.

“He was different,” said Phillip Dupont, referring to Melvin. “Of all the dogs I had, he was completely different.”

Melvin was advertised as a full-bred Catahoula, but after purchasing him the Duponts realized he was a mutt, probably part Doberman and part Catahoula. After considering putting him to sleep, the couple decided to keep him.

“Turned out to be the best dog I ever owned,” said Philip.

Phillip and his wife grew to trust Melvin so much they even let him babysit their grandson. “He listened,” said Phillip. “You could talk to him and you swore he understood what you were talking about. It was weird.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.47.49 PMThe Duponts (pictured at left) started to think about cloning Melvin when he was nine years old. They knew they just couldn’t part with this perfect pooch. The couple approached Sooam Biotech, a South Korean company that offered the cloning process for $100,000.

The first attempt ended in disaster. The dog died early on from distemper. Sooam tried again and this time produced Henry and Ken. The dogs “are so much like Melvin, it’s unreal,” said Phillip. Even their personalities are similar.

The twin clones were “born” from a donor egg that was injected with one of Melvin’s skin cells. Scientists first had to scrape the original DNA out of the egg.

The two dogs are identically – genetically speaking – but are not exact copies of each other or of Melvin.

“I put a red collar on Ken and a black collar on Henry so I can tell who’s who,” said Paula.

Melvin passed away about two years after the clones were born. The Duponts agreed that having Henry and Ken helped ease their grief.

Henry and Ken are two of nearly 600 clones that have been “created” by Sooam Biotech, the only company in the world that produces clones for dog owners.

It may sound great to reproduce a beloved pet, but the process is complicated and involves surgery.

“If you love dogs and you really want to have your companion animal cloned, you really do need to take very seriously the health and well-being of all the dogs that would be involved in this process,” said bioethicist Insoo Hyun.

The cloning process involves multiple dogs, some egg donors, others surrogates. Most dogs involved must undergo surgery. And most of the time the cloning process doesn’t work.

“I think there are probably better ways to spend $100,000 if you really care about animals,” said Hyun.

Nonplussed and confident that they made the right decision, the Duponts are considering cloning Melvin again to create a dog for their grandson.


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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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