A British woman won a competition held by the South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. After a costly procedure that normally costs around £60,000, a cloned dachshund named Winnie is now the country's first cloned canine resident.
The controversial dog is the result of Sooam Biotech's dog cloning competition. The contest was won by Rebecca Smith, whose 12 year old Dachshund named Winnie was cloned totally free of charge. Winnie's clone was born late last month in Seoul, South Korea and some are calling the 1 lb pup "Mini Winnie."
"The biggest hurdle for most future cloners is the price tag: $100,000 (£63,000)," says Sooam Biotech. "This hefty cost is necessary because many researchers put in months of effort to clone one dog."
Sooam Biotech has already cloned over 400 dogs and the organization is looking to expand their operations in other countries. When the contest began, interested applicants were told to email Sooam Biotech about their reasons on why they want to clone their beloved dogs.
"Sooam Biotech Research Foundation is able to prolong the companionship with your dog by bringing back the memories that you have with your friend," says Sooam in its official site. "Cloning technology is possible at Sooam for any dog no matter its age, size, and breed."
The competition was also exclusively covered by Channel 4 and their coverage of the event will be aired in a one-off film that featured many aspects of the competition. Chanel 4's documentary will also showcase the applicants who joined the contest as well as their dogs. During the selection process, a team of South Koreans from Sooam Biotech visited the contestants' homes. Footage of these home visits will also be featured in the upcoming documentary.
"From the ethical and moral questions that programme will raise, to looking at how the South Korean team of scientists view the British and our love of their four legged friends, it will be a fascinating to see just how much our dogs mean to us," said Channel 4 Features Commissioning Editor Kate Teckman.
After winning the competition, Smith has been very happy with the results. The 30 year old British resident welcomed Mini-Winnie and Smith says that the newborn puppy looks exactly like the original Winnie. The 12 year old Winnie now suffers from arthritis and old age and Smith and her family are growing more fearful regarding their inevitable parting in the future.
While Mini-Winnie and Winnie may have the same appearance, British dog experts are saying that there is no guarantee that the two dogs will share the same personality. Personalities are often developed through an individual's unique experiences and it may be extremely unlikely that the two dogs will developed the exact same personalities.
While Winnie may be the first dog in Britain to have been cloned, the country is no stranger to cloning animals. In fact, the world's first cloned mammal, a sheep named Dolly, was created in the Edinburgh University back in 1996.