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South Korea Deploys Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs 154

Posted by timothy
from the gee-your-dogs-sure-like-cocaine-a-lot dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that six puppies cloned from a Canadian-born sniffer dog in late 2007 have reported for duty to check for drugs at Seoul's Incheon International Airport after completing a 16-month training course. The customs agency says clones help to lower crime-fighting costs as it is difficult to find good sniffer dogs. Only about 30% of naturally-born sniffer dogs make the grade, but South Korean scientists say that could rise to 90% using the cloning method. The puppies, each called 'Toppy' for 'Tomorrow's Puppy,' are part of a litter of seven who were cloned from a 'superb' drug-sniffing Canadian Labrador retriever called Chase at a cost of about $239,000. 'They are the world's first cloned sniffer dogs deployed at work,' says customs spokesman Park Jeong-Heon. 'They showed better performances in detecting illegal drugs during the training than other naturally-born sniffer dogs that we have.'"
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South Korea Deploys Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs

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  • Standing still (Score:5, Informative)

    by Norsefire (1494323) * on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:30AM (#28755415) Journal
    I followed the Snuppy project quite closely, (in fact I am the main contributor to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] - shameless plug), so it's great to see further developments stemming from that. However something that a Kennel Club spokesman said when Snuppy was first cloned comes to mind here:

    "Canine cloning runs contrary to the Kennel Club's objective 'To promote in every way the general improvement of dogs' ... Cloning cannot be used to make improvements because the technique simply produces genetic replicas of existing dogs." [src] [bbc.co.uk]

    So what they have now are the best drug dogs they will ever have, their abilities can't improve any - they will be the same as the dog they were cloned from.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by seekret (1552571)

      So what they have now are the best drug dogs they will ever have, their abilities can't improve any - they will be the same as the dog they were cloned from.

      At least until genetics research gets to the point where they can modify the dog's genes and improve them in the lab. This is pretty awesome, It's the first cloning story I've heard that was positive and didn't end with disfigured sheep. (i haven't been following the progress on cloning so i wouldn't know if this is the first success story or not)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by KlaymenDK (713149)

        Until they can improve them in lab retrievers, it'll just be a scientific exercise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Norsefire (1494323) *

        i haven't been following the progress on cloning so i wouldn't know if this is the first success story or not)

        a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_%28sheep%29">Dolly the sheep was the first cloned mammal, in 1996. The first success story for canine cloning was Snuppy [wikipedia.org] back in 2005. South Korea (where Snuppy was cloned) have been cloning animals fairly consistently since then. I actually thought they had cloned working dogs long before now.

    • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Absolut187 (816431) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:39AM (#28755495) Homepage

      Yet they have increased the population's frequency of the genes that code for "superb sniffer". So they have improved the population.

      If the Toppys produce viable offspring via natural methods, there is the potential for an offspring that is even better than the Toppy, due to currently unknown gene combinations.

      • by Forge (2456)

        If the Toppys produce viable offspring via natural methods, there is the potential for an offspring that is even better than the Toppy, due to currently unknown gene combinations.

        The same possibility as if the "Father" was extremely promiscuous.

        Not to say this isn't significant. As far as I know this is the 1st time a Mammal has been cloned simply to reproduce a disierable set of genetic traits.

      • See, that's the thing that people just don't get about evolution. There is no "better" or "improved", because that would mean that evolution has a goal, an 'ideal' in mind - and it doesn't. It doesn't even have a mind. It is just a word which describes the way in which populations adapt to their environment.

        By increasing the population's frequency of genes that code for "superb sniffer", they have also possibly increased the frequency of genes which code for allergies, cancer or chylothorax [wikipedia.org]. So is that b
        • by RsG (809189)

          See, that's the thing that people just don't get about evolution. There is no "better" or "improved", because that would mean that evolution has a goal, an 'ideal' in mind - and it doesn't. It doesn't even have a mind. It is just a word which describes the way in which populations adapt to their environment.

          True, but that applies mainly to natural selection.

          Artificial selection, which is essentially genetic engineering without the high tech, does have "better" or "improved" metrics, usually associated with whatever the domestic species is used for. A dog with a more sensitive nose is "better" as a drug-sniffer than a dog without. Ergo, breeding for greater olfactory sensitivity is "improving" the breed, at least in that narrow range.

          Granted, improvement here is a measure of specialization, which may be count

      • by Sethumme (1313479)
        Assuming Toppy's set of genes is required for genetic evolution/improvement. A better sniffer could potentially evolve out of an altogether different set of parental genes...
    • by onion2k (203094)

      Their innate abilities can't improve, but that's not to say there aren't other ways that they might be better drug sniffers than their ancestors - improving training, diet, exercise, rewards, and simply having more dogs because they're cheaper would all serve to increase detection rates.

    • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:42AM (#28755531)
      This also raises big problems as far as disease resistance goes -- if all the dogs are genetically identical they will all have identical immune systems, making it far easier for a single strain of disease to wipe out a large chunk of them.

      On a totally unrelated note -- why are we so concerned with drug sniffing dogs? OMG!! Someone wants to get high!!! Quick -- clone some dogs so that we can put them in jail!!! This whole drug prohibition thing is beyond infantile, but I digress. Why not use the time and effort to create better service dogs, or bomb-sniffing dogs?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        Take your last sentence, add some preamble, and post it to your congressman.

        That kind of sentiment is wasted here.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          Take your last sentence, add some preamble, and post it to your congressman.

          Then prepared to be ignored to death.

          That kind of sentiment is wasted here.

          It's wasted there too.

          There are many powerful people with vested interests in prohibition. Besides allowing the free trade of drugs is like oil, you'll end up supporting some despot in another country, except instead of the ME, it will be the more popular tourist destinations of Latin America. Not that I'm for Prohibition, I'm actually against it and b

      • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Insightful)

        by asdf7890 (1518587) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:16AM (#28755883)

        On a totally unrelated note -- why are we so concerned with drug sniffing dogs? OMG!! Someone wants to get high!!! Quick -- clone some dogs so that we can put them in jail!!!

        It is not quite as simple as that. These dogs are not just out there to find the little bag-o-mary in your inside coat pocket, they are there to pick up on a variety of stronger drugs that are massively addictive and cause the country various troubles such as the extra crime created by the badly addicted running out of money but still needing their next fix, needing to run treatment programs for the addicted, needing to fund medical care for the health complications that result from certain drug use and persist even long after the addiction is dealt with, and so on.

        I would agree that seeing this research go into bomb sniffing as well as drug sniffing dogs, but how do we know it isn't in another lab? This report is specifically about one set of dogs resulting from one lab's work, which happens to center around a particularly proficient drug detecting animal.

        • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:31AM (#28756081)

          It is not quite as simple as that. These dogs are not just out there to find the little bag-o-mary in your inside coat pocket, they are there to pick up on a variety of stronger drugs that are massively addictive and cause the country various troubles such as the extra crime created by the badly addicted running out of money but still needing their next fix, needing to run treatment programs for the addicted, needing to fund medical care for the health complications that result from certain drug use and persist even long after the addiction is dealt with, and so on.

          I don't think the fact that some drugs are bad for you and can be detrimental to society is really is question -- the only question is whether or not prohibition helps the situation. In nearly every regard, prohibition fails to improve the situation and only serves to exacerbate it. Users get lower quality product with no dosage control, making accidental overdose far more likely. People are much less likely to come forward with drug addiction problems when they can be thrown in prison. Prohibition greatly increases the price of drugs, making addicts far more likely to turn to crime to fund their addiction. Prohibition puts the distribution in the hands of hardened criminals, rather than say, a licensed professional. Prohibition makes no financial sense -- the government spends money fighting the drugs rather than raking in tax dollars from the purchase of the drugs. Finally, and possibly most importantly, making drugs illegal does absolutely nothing to stop people from using them. In fact, there is much evidence to suggest that prohibition increases drug use. I could go on and on, but I think I make my point fairly clear, drug prohibition is entirely infantile and serves no purpose other than to be a huge burden on our society.

          • Re:Standing still (Score:4, Insightful)

            by smartr (1035324) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#28756311)
            While there is a strong rational argument for drug decriminalization (just look at Portugal), the real problem is that people hate liberty and loath tolerance.
          • Hasn't the ban on smoking in public places had any effect? I'm certainly a big fan of that one.

            On another note, would you like big tobacco firms to be given the product of their dreams to sell? How do you think society would cope with that - same as with smoking?

            • by dargaud (518470)

              Hasn't the ban on smoking in public places had any effect?

              Apparently not in the intended way. When I saw the statistics that smokers now score with the opposite sex a lot more than before*, it left me wondering how many teenagers would pick it up just for this very reason.
              (*) The reason is that smokers now have to leave the restaurant table to go outside... where they meet the smokers of the other tables, thus socialize a lot more, thus score better...

        • Re:Standing still (Score:4, Informative)

          by Hatta (162192) * on Monday July 20, 2009 @12:46PM (#28757733) Journal

          These dogs are not just out there to find the little bag-o-mary in your inside coat pocket

          But they'll happily get you for that too.

          they are there to pick up on a variety of stronger drugs that are massively addictive

          Like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine?

          and cause the country various troubles such as the extra crime created by the badly addicted running out of money but still needing their next fix

          So by restricting supply we increase the prices of these drugs and amplify this problem. How does that help?

          needing to run treatment programs for the addicted

          Right, and how much does it cost to jail these individuals?

          needing to fund medical care for the health complications that result from certain drug use and persist even long after the addiction is dealt with

          What about the health complications that result from gang warfare that wouldn't exist in a regulated industry? Also, would not regulation and destigmatization of these drugs allow people to get treated earlier when it's cheaper? As it is, any addict sees doctors as the enemy, someone who wants to take their drugs away and force them into treatment. Change the legal status and we can change that relationship to something healthier.

          Prohibition is bad any way that you look at it. Every problem it's intended to solve, it only makes worse.

      • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mea37 (1201159) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#28756027)

        I don't think you can say that immune systems are identical among genetic twins. At birth, if they were carried by the same mother, probably; beyond that there are other variables. Fundamentally similar, but not identical.

        In any case, I'm not sure genetic monoculture is that big a threat here. If you have a sizable population of these dogs living together, I suppose it becomes an issue.

        Why the focus on drug dogs? You've really raised two questions there. The broader social question of "why the focus on drugs" may be valid, but it's beside the point. That's the legal/political background of the story. Given that background, the more relevant question - why drug dogs instead of, say, service dogs - is a simple matter of cost/benefit. Service dogs aren't cheap, but this cloning project cost $40k per dog, and that doesn't even include the normal costs of training each dog.

        For drug dogs, they say that's cheap compared to normal breeding programs once you adjust for the higher success rate. For service dogs, I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say they need to let others pioneer the process and get the cost down.

        Of course, with a relatively large population like service dogs, the concern of a genetic monoculture is greater.

      • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dunbal (464142) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#28756033)

        if all the dogs are genetically identical they will all have identical immune systems

              Bzzzt - wrong.

              Sorry, I'm a doctor, and I can't let this one slide. Not sure how it is in dogs, but it can't be that much different than humans. Although their immune system will be GENETICALLY the same, the nice thing about immune systems is that they learn and adapt throughout your life. You are not "born" with immunity to certain diseases. You ACQUIRE it. Animals are not like plants where a monoculture is vulnerable to a single pathogen. Plants don't have active, adaptive immune systems like animals do.

              While certain genetic disorders of the immune system would be cloned, in theory, these disorders tend to be rare. I think it would be safe to assume that the goal of the program was to clone healthy dogs. Provided these dogs get their shots, they should be just as "safe" as any other dog.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by jonadab (583620)
          > You are not "born" with immunity to certain diseases. You ACQUIRE it.

          You acquire immunity, but you can also be born with inherited resistance, and having an entire population be genetically identical *can* be dangerous. (See, for instance, what happened to the Gros Michel banana cultivar.)
          • by Dunbal (464142)

            See, for instance, what happened to the Gros Michel banana cultivar.

                  You're seriously comparing mammals to plants, aren't you?

        • Dunbal is right - the adaptive immune system is basically the same in all vertebrates. So dogs will have a small number of directly inherited pathogen recognition receptors (e.g. TLRs) and a much larger (by several orders of magnitude) library of randomly generated ones in the form of antibodies or B- or T-cell receptors. Having a big population with the same MHC types could create a small shared vulnerability to the spread of disease, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Thanks to the adaptive immune s
          • by TheLink (130905)
            Till there's a parasite problem...

            Seems sexual reproduction helps create descendants who are more resistant to parasites.
        • by cbhacking (979169)

          Thank you for clearing that up. A genetic condition could still be a problem; if the clone parent had a genetic condition that hadn't manifested yet, all the puppies will have it too. That's relatively unlikely though.

          By the way, you have the most ironic signature imaginable for this thread.

    • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Barsteward (969998) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:45AM (#28755557)
      "Canine cloning runs contrary to the Kennel Club's objective 'To promote in every way the general improvement of dogs' ... "
      The KCs objective is complete and utter crap. Since when has encouraging bulldogs and the like to get more deformed to be as close as to the KCs definition of what makes a perfect example of a breed. Bulldogs should be at least twice the height they are now and should be able to breath properly.
      I'd take dog cloning that produces a healthy dog over a KCs definition any day of the week.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Em Emalb (452530)

        you're 100% correct...English Bulldogs are an abomination.

        Did you know they can't even reproduce without artificial insemination? How is that considered a good thing? It's horrible. Our neighbors have one, and we dog-sat while they were gone. The poor thing could barely breathe. It was so bad, that when it was sleeping, if you didn't hear this rasping groaning snore coming from it, you'd think it was dying.

        Unreal. I feel so badly for the dog. It's a sweet dog too, that's the thing of it. I just wish

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by CarpetShark (865376)

          Did you know they can't even reproduce without artificial insemination?

          Like most slashdotters then.

        • Did you know they can't even reproduce without artificial insemination? How is that considered a good thing? It's horrible. Our neighbors have one, and we dog-sat while they were gone. The poor thing could barely breathe. It was so bad, that when it was sleeping, if you didn't hear this rasping groaning snore coming from it, you'd think it was dying.

          The British KC and many others are breeding dogs for looks at the cost of anything else, including health.

          Several breeds looked quite different 100 years ago, but have bred to have their features exaggerated into an increasingly "perfect" style.

          Health issues, inbreeding (and most likely a huge reduction in the gene pool) for any breed of dog is the result.

          In my opinion, the people should have been jailed for animal cruelty. Dogs are doomed to a life of pain and disease because their genes have are being but

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonadab (583620)
        Actually, if you want a healthy dog, all else being equal, what you want is a mutt, a dog that resulted not from planned breeding but from an "encounter" between random parent dogs of entirely unrelated stock. Ideally, you want a multi-generation mutt, a dog of such mixed breeding that you can't identify which specific breeds any of its parents or grandparents may have been.

        All else being equal, a clone should be about as healthy as its "parent", but a *population* of clones would not be as healthy as a po
        • I love mutts (they are all I have ever owned, as we've always gotten shelter dogs) but this sentiment (common though it is) is complete bullshit.

          The majority of our mutts have had the same hip, joint, and elbow problems that people complain about in purebreds. Why? Since they were accidents, there were no genetic checks for whether the parents had those diseases, no care to make sure that recessive traits were not combined, and no thought whatsoever as to whether the parents were good specimens of the breed

    • Re:Standing still (Score:5, Informative)

      by ljw1004 (764174) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:25AM (#28755985)

      On the other hand, the Kennel Club's ideas about "improvement" just mean that their committee picked an arbitrary and unhealthy dog aesthetic and then got breeders to breed towards it. There was no "improvement" in it at all...

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7828455.stm [bbc.co.uk]

      "The Kennel Club has introduced new standards for 209 breeds, following concerns about ill health in pedigree dogs caused by years of in-breeding. Last year, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pulled out of Crufts, saying breeding to exaggerate certain features, such as bulldogs' jowls, had led to painful deformities. Now new rules designed to prevent exaggeration and incestuous breeding have been brought in.

      "Ryan O'Meara, from the K9 dog magazine, said the changes were long overdue. "When we breed dogs to a set of physical standards and ignore the health consequences, it's really unforgivable," he told the BBC News website. Mr O'Meara said the bulldog was "a vivid illustration of how wrong we can get it". "Bulldogs have been bred to a point where they die at about seven years of age - in human terms that's just 45 or 46," he said. "They can't breathe properly. They can't support themselves because their heads are too big. They have terrible skin conditions. "The public must be educated to see dogs not for their aesthetic appeal but to think about their health."

      • by TheLink (130905)
        > The public must be educated to see dogs not for their aesthetic appeal but to think about their health.

        Huh, when I look at a bulldog I see a really unhealthy dog, what aesthetic appeal? So many of the "Kennel breeds" are crap. They're breeding cripples and twisted "bonsais". Back problems, tendency to become paraplegics, tendency to go deaf or blind...

        As for those who claim that "mutts" are better, I disagree. You can have good working dogs - go ask the shepherds that use dogs. Sure there'll be some "b
    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      I think they're not cloning dogs because they want to improve, but to increase the availability of a scarce resource, drug sniffing dogs. The genetic enhancement of those dogs still goes on in parallel. So, what's the problem?
    • There are two things about the illegal drugs situation that the South Koreans should consider.
      One is that there are basically three types of illegal drugs: the addictive opiates, the 'boosters' activity-increasing drugs like amphetamines/cocaine, and the mind-expander/entertainment/recreationals like marijuana/hashish/cannibus or the psychedelics like LSD/ecstasy.

      The recreationals are basically a political problem. They are only a problem because the politicians say that they are. For socie

      • by oldhack (1037484)

        "Ever wonder why millions of American college graduates are trying to move to crime-ridden neighborhoods in Asian cities in order to open little grocery stores so that their children can have a hope of a better future?"

        So... what's in your pipe?

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      So what they have now are the best drug dogs they will ever have, their abilities can't improve any - they will be the same as the dog they were cloned from.

      Yet they have also preserved the wellspring of this genetic combination beyond the lifetime of one generation. They could experiment with more variations than they could from one individual animal and, if they stray too far into undesirable traits, breed back to be closer to the original even generations later. (Frozen sperm samples still have a limited shelf life.)

      The Toppy's are genetically immortal thanks to cloning (assuming replicative fading is science fiction's way of inventing a problem for purposes

    • That and they could have tried probably about 300 hundred dogs and of those, probably at least a 100 of those that were in that 30 percentile that were 'good sniffers'. Instead they have 16. Granted, there would be training costs, but given the huge number advantage from just buying dogs and getting a 3rd of them that are good sniffers it seems like a waste of time and resources.
  • Retirement (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eddy Luten (1166889) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:37AM (#28755469)
    And when they retire they'll make for a tasty snack [wikipedia.org].
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Indeed. I've never understood the western need to demonize dog meat consumption. Granted I wouldn't eat it myself as it's just a little too ingrained as a cultural taboo for me. However as a meat eater in general, I certainly can't find fault with others eating meat, and dogs are just as much animals as cows or chickens, so if they wanna grill em up, then more power to em.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I've had dog meat. I'm in korea now and I've had it both grilled and stewed in soup. Its not bad. Kinda oily and a bit gamy but tastes like meat. Now I wonder what cat tastes like. They're much more worthless than dogs. ~If it has four legs and its not a table, eat it~ Cantonese saying.
      • by afabbro (33948)

        Indeed. I've never understood the western need to demonize dog meat consumption. Granted I wouldn't eat it myself as it's just a little too ingrained as a cultural taboo for me.

        Asked and answered.

        • Actually, I believe it comes from Judeo Kashrut practices. We (Western European) societies are heavily influenced by the whole Judeo Christian ethic. This however doesn't explain our fascination with Pork [recovery.gov] (pun intended)

      • by Tweenk (1274968)

        Indeed. I've never understood the western need to demonize dog meat consumption.

        Apart from the fact that people are unlikely to eat species of animals they keep as pets, dog is unclean according to Jewish tradition. There are few unclean animals that are commonly used in Western cuisines (only pigs are really common).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by daem0n1x (748565)
          What do you mean, unclean? I always wash my pigs before I eat them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by TheLink (130905)
          Everything from the sea/waters that does not have fins and scales is out too. That includes lobsters, shrimp, mussels, oysters, catfish, eels, squid (calamari :) ). The French, Italian and Spanish do eat a lot of stuff the "Anglos" don't appear to eat nowadays.

          It's not just about clean/unclean. Many of the "clean" animals must also be slaughtered in a certain way (to drain most of the blood out) otherwise they should not be eaten.

          Traditionally mixing meat and dairy products = nonkosher. So that means a pizz
      • Re:Retirement (Score:4, Interesting)

        by asdf7890 (1518587) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:41AM (#28756193)

        Hear hear. The same with the disgust some people have about the French eating horse meat. As long as the animal has been well treated in life (including the end of its life not involving unnecessarily stress and pain) I don't see a Korean eating dog or a Frenchman eating horse as any worse than me eating pork.

        There are those that try bring intelligence into it, claiming that the intelligence of dogs makes them more objectionable as food than what we generally consider farm animals. This is crap as you'll almost certainly find your average pig to be no less intelligent than some dog breads (pigs are probably more than those yappy little rats fashionable people carry around).

        My argument stands or falls on the "being treated well" part, of course, and I'm sure you can find many examples of dogs being mistreated prior to being lunch. But the force feeding of geese to produce foie gras, and other examples of abuse closer to home than the east, means that we can't really claim moral superiority on the issue.

      • by G-Man (79561)

        I think part of it is that it implies betrayal/ingratitude, and in a related way, wastefulness. The *only* reason we keep cows or chickens around is as a source of food (meat, eggs) and materials (leather). Dogs, on the other hand, provide not just companionship but a myriad of other services to us: hunting dogs, seeing-eye dogs, seizure dogs, service dogs, search and rescue, bomb- and drug-sniffing, etc. They help the disabled among us. We take them to war. It seems ungrateful to eat an animal that provide

        • why eat an animal that is so otherwise valuable? Eat the stupid cows, that's what they are there for.

          I think it's interesting to point out that this is actually one of the key points in the (non-religious side of the) Hindu argument against eating cows: They produce milk for dairy products and are therefore incredibly valuable creatures.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vintermann (400722)

        The problem with eating dog is that they are carnivorous mammals. It takes a lot of grain to feed a cow, it takes a lot of cow to feed a dog. Not very resource efficient.

        I think the metavegetarian diet (only eating vegetables and vegetarians) is more sustainable in the long run.

      • Indeed. I've never understood the western need to demonize dog meat consumption.

        I don't actually mind dog/cat meat consumption as such, but I know that preparation of said meat has a lot of cruelty associated with it - such as dogs being beaten severely while alive (to "soak meat in blood" for better taste), as well as both dogs and cats skinned alive, allegedly also for some culinary reasons. There are plenty of videos on the subject on YouTube; if you care to search, you'll find them soon enough. That kind of thing is what I find extremely revolting; and, as I understand, it's relati

    • by TRS80NT (695421)
      "Mmmmm. This dog smells good."
  • At $40K for a cloned-sniffer dog, you'd think it would be cheaper to just start a normal breeding program. Oh well, maybe they will get cheaper as they increase production.

    I, for one, welcome our cloned drug-sniffing dog overlords.

  • 'They showed better performances in detecting illegal drugs during the training than other naturally-born sniffer dogs that we have.'"

    I assume these cloned dogs were naturally born too. But they were not naturally concieved.
    • No no, these really were test-tube puppies.

      The breed is Canadian Lab, but the appearance is Dachshund
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Mushdot (943219)

        They also knew at that stage the cloning would be a success. The scientists came in in the morning and found the test tube rack had somehow moved closer to the Morphine cupboard.

  • Considering the fairly large litter size and frequency that you can breed, this really doesn't make much sense when you look at the cost. One thing we have no problem with is breeding dogs and if priced right those that don't make the grade are easily adopted, helping to put some puppy mills out of business.
    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      The problem here, though, is that they aren't in the dog breeding business, they're in the drug enforcement business. They would have no reason (in the box-thinking sense, not the holistic one) to breed other kinds of dogs than the ones they can use.

      It would be nice if one could achieve, say, a 0.5 ratio of useful sniffer dog puppies to regular puppies, but if one could achieve a 1.0 ratio at double the price, you don't need to bother with all those customers wanting to buy the, um, byproduct. And, really,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Training isn't free. If you take your success rate from 30% to 90%, you need less trainers, and so on.

    • The South Korean Government has been throwing money at canine cloning since about 2003 (they funded the research of the Snuppy cloning) and they've been cash-rolling all the development since then. So either they're spending the money cloning them just because they can (which is what they *have* been doing for the last 3 years) or they spend it on drug dogs. It actually works out cheaper as prior to this they were paying for drug dogs and cloning.
  • 'Cause I'm ready for my own Semi-Autonomous Guard Unit.
  • why bother? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    wouldn't it be cheaper to just end the drug war?

  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:52AM (#28755623)

    I have a dalmatian

    with cloning i wonder if the spots be all the same shape on position?

    anyone??

  • With things like this, I cannot help but wonder how much of the claim is true and how much is just a bogus claim given in an attempt to make themselves appear to be better than they really are. I am not saying that this story is false. I do not know. However, history has shown that when groups invest considerable time and/or money in something (or they simply have something to prove), they want to claim they got the best results possible. Sometimes the claims are spot on. Other times, they either exaggerate
    • Well, from their litter of seven, six are currently being used after their training. That isn't >90% but it's pretty good. Second, I believe what they mean from "cloned sniffer dogs had better performance that naturally-born sniffer dogs" is that the percentage of cloned dogs that are useful in drug sniffing is much higer than the percentage of naturally born sniffing dogs that end up passing the same training.

      Now the reason for needing these dogs is another argument altogether...
    • Also, the article claims that the cloned sniffer dogs had better performance that naturally-born sniffer dogs.

      From the context, I would assume that the performance comparision would be between the clones and the other non-cloned dogs in the training program. It could have been stated plainly, but then I would have had no reason to post this comment.

  • Dope Dog, an undercover narc with a bark, genetically engineered etc.

  • In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by needs2bfree (1256494) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:11AM (#28755833)
    "CBC reports that six soldiers cloned from Canadian-born Rick Hillier in late 2007 have reported for duty to check for terrorists in Afganistan after completing a 16-month training course. The Canadian Armed Forces says clones help to lower fighting costs as it is difficult to find good soldiers. Only about 30% of naturally-born soldiers make the grade, but Canadian scientists say that could rise to 90% using the cloning method. The soldier, each called 'Ricky', are part of a set of seven who were cloned from a 'superb' former chief of defense staff, General Rick Hillier, CMM, MSC, CD, at a cost of about $239,000. 'They are the world's first cloned soldiers deployed at work,' says current chief of defense General Walter Natynczyk. 'They showed better performances in detecting terrorists during the training than other naturally-born soldiers that we have.'"
    • That is the basic plot of this movie [imdb.com]

    • Could you tell me what was your point?

    • by selven (1556643)
      We'll have the technology for fully functional and even ethical robot soldiers years before we get to that kind of cloning.
  • Joke? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Chysn (898420)

    So, a drug-sniffing dog and a bomb-sniffing dog are having a drink after work, talking a little shop. Drug-sniffing dog whispers, "Hey, see that woman over there? She's got a gram of cocaine in her purse."

    Bomb-sniffing dog says, "See that man over at the bar, the one with the duck on his head? He's about to have a really bad day."

  • If they had just used blood hounds or beagles instead of labrador retrievers, they would have a much higher percentage of passable dogs.

    Everyone knows blood hounds and beagles have better noses than retrievers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      Everyone knows blood hounds and beagles have better noses than retrievers.

      It's more than just noses. Labs are often used because they're well behaved (after puppyhood), easy to work with and have noses that are as good as most bloodhounds. Beagles especially would not be a good choice since they are pack hounds and tend not to work well individually. Labs are generally fairly sturdy and able to walk around all day long. Then walk around even more.

      Besides, they're cuter.

  • why are they cloning better drug dogs, when you could completely solve the problem simply by cloning people who aren't drug dealers?
    • by grcumb (781340)

      why are they cloning better drug dogs, when you could completely solve the problem simply by cloning people who aren't drug dealers?

      No, because then they'd need performance-enhanced canines to find out who's who, and we'd be reading a slashdot story about drugged clone-sniffing dogs.

  • Everybody knows this is just a cover for their work towards zerglings!

  • If the world cloned more Canadians, it would likely be a nicer place. :)

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