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Even if the eight-year-old Yorkshire terrier of British couple Laura Jacques and Richard Remde has been dead for 12 days, a South Korean lab managed to clone two puppies from the dead pet. Sooam Biotech Research Foundation's website says the dog's DNA could be extracted up to five days from its death.
Sooam Biotech told the couple when Remde brought the DNA sample from the dog's skin that chances of success are low because of the number of days that had passed since the animal died in June of a heart attack after it suffered from brain tumor. However, the couple took a chance and are now waiting for the birth of two puppies, reports Biztekmojo.
The first puppy is due on Dec. 26 and the next puppy the following day. Despite criticisms by several groups, such as RSPCA and Genewatch, the Seoul-based lab has so far cloned more than 700 puppies since Dr. Woo Suk Hwang, started cloning dogs in 2005.
Genewatch Director Helen Wallace is pushing for regulation of pet cloning over fears that commercial cloning firms could exploit grieving pet owners. RSPCA believes the procedure causes pain and distress on animals and has high failure and mortality rates
The procedure, which costs £67,000 or $100,000, involves the extraction of DNA sample from a dead animal and then implanting it into an egg where the nucleus has been removed. It is then implanted into a surrogate female dog.
But David Kim, a scientist of the lab, insists that Sooam follows animal ethics and has a third-party inspector from the government and a board of advisers overseeing the facility. Surrogate mother dogs are used only once, he says.
The couple is the first paying client of Sooam from Britain, although in 2014, a London woman, Rebecca Smith, won in a competition organized by the lab and got as a prize the free cloning of a dachshund, Mini Winnie, born in March that year.
They heard about the competition that Smith won and immediately contacted Sooam, reports The Guardian.
Jacques, who was so depressed by the death of her terrier that she reached a point of wanting to jump from a bridge, says that while "there will be people who don't agree with it but there will be loads of people that would love to be able to do it. Remde describes the anticipated birth of the puppies to "like five Christmases coming all at once."