A South Korean company which clones pet dogs allowing owners to "bring back the memories" has offered to knock £40,000 off the process to a dog owner in the UK.
Sooam Brf is running a dog cloning competition, with the prize a generous 70% off the standard price tag. All pet owners have to do is send a 500 word essay to the company to explain why their dog should be cloned. Videos and pictures of one's prized pooch can also be included.
The company explained its reasoning, writing on it website: "Although dog cloning is spreading to many parts of the world, the majority of cloners are still from the US. The biggest hurdle for most future cloners is the price tag. This hefty cost is necessary because many researchers put in months of effort to clone one dog."
Dog clones: a lot cuter than mammoths
However dog lovers might be disappointed with the results of their cloned canine.
"I think that personality is really what most people are looking to clone," John Woestendiek, a dog cloning investigator and author, told Live Science. "And I don't think personality is clone-able."
The project is headed by former stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo-Suk. The scientist cloned his first dog, Snuppy in 2005, an achievement which was independently confirmed.
He is also part of a cloning project with Russian scientists which aims to recreate a woolly mammoth – a prehistoric creature that last walked the earth some 4,500 years ago.
Hwang Woo-Suk holds a dog he claims to have cloned
The team aim to get to work on thawed remains of the extinct mammal recovered after global warming thawed Siberia’s permafrost.
Earlier this month Russia scientists extracted liquid blood and tissue from frozen woolly mammoth believed to be 10-15,000-years-old during an expedition on an Arctic Ocean island.
The DNA of the prehistoric animal will now be examined as part of a cloning project.
Once the tissues have undergone a nuclear transfer process, the eggs will be implanted into the womb of a live elephant.
Hwang lost face in the international scientific community in 2005 when his breakthrough human cloning research involving embryonic stem cells was found to have been faked.
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