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South Korea to clone 40 police dogs

August 18, 2014
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The official said it will take about a year to select a breed and make other preparations prior to the cloning procedure. (Yonhap)

By Lee Hyo-sik

Korean police plan to select a superior breed of dogs and have a bio-engineering institute reproduce its clones to use them as K-9 dogs for bomb detection and other police missions.

The National Police Agency (NPA) said Monday that it has set aside 1 billion won ($970,000) in taxpayers’ money to finance a cloning project aimed at producing 40 cloned police dogs using domestic technology.

”Korea is the only country in the world that possesses cloning techniques to duplicate dogs. To secure highly-exceptional police dogs, we will select a species, which is suitable for police missions, from a wide range of superb breeds,” an NPA official said. ”We will then produce its clones.”

The official said it will take about a year to select a breed and make other preparations prior to the cloning procedure.

Four local institutions are known to be capable of duplicating dogs: the National Institute of Animal Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University, and the College of Agriculture & Life Science at Chungnam National University and the Sooam Biotech Research Center.

In May 2010, the Sooam Biotech Research Center, led by cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk, delivered five clones of a dog named “Quinn” to the Jeju Provincial Police Agency. The German shepherd, 5 years old at the time, made headlines during the investigation of a high-profile child murder case that shocked the island in 2007.

The NPA has reportedly contacted Chungnam National University and Sooam for its latest project.

Currently, police have a total of 130 K-9 dogs and use them to detect narcotics and explosives, as well as search missing persons. The dogs are all breeds of German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Belgian Malinois. But according to the NPA, none of the dogs has shown exceptional talents.

”We are considering buying a proven breed from foreign police forces or obtain its somatic cells to produce the clones,” the official said. ”Besides the three types of breeds we have, we plan to secure the genes of other varieties.”

Following the successful cloning of K-9 dogs, the NPA plans to deliver them to its K-9 dog training center in Daejeon and regional police offices for training, which normally takes four to five months.

Since 2011, the state-run Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency has been implementing a dog cloning project in cooperation with Seoul National University. Over the past few years, the agency has deployed 14 cloned search dogs to its offices across the country to detect illegally-imported agricultural and livestock products.

One Comment

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