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Biotech Science

Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs Prove Successful In South Korea 125

Rexdude writes "A prized drug-sniffing dog at Incheon Airport in South Korea was cloned four years ago, and now the clones have proven to be much more successful at becoming sniffer dogs themselves compared to regular dogs. Not as controversial as human cloning, but are we going to see genetic copyrights on prized animal breeds in the future?"
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Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs Prove Successful In South Korea

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  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:13AM (#37676832)
    Bees are where it's at []
  • by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {kcir.maharg}> on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:17AM (#37676852)
    They should use their powers for good. Give every child a clone of Lassie.
  • Not much difference (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:23AM (#37676874)

    Pure-bred dogs are bred in such a small population that they were getting pretty close to being clones anyway.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's a big difference between inbred and cloned.

      Pure-bred dogs are inbred to the point of causing severe genetic deformities.

      We don't look at the same inbreeding in humans and say "My, that's an interesting advancement in human cloning, isn't it?"

      • by Tsingi ( 870990 )

        We don't look at the same inbreeding in humans and say "My, that's an interesting advancement in human cloning, isn't it?"

        Why do we find foreign and mixed race women (/men) exotic?

        We are naturally attracted because we can make excellent children with them. Shake up the gene pool.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          [Same 'Anonymous Coward' as before so at this point I may have to create a full account!]

          I meant 'inbreeding' as 'coming from the same family line'.
          If i had a cat and it had kittens I wouldn't think that breeding a sister and brother from that litter with eachother would produce a 'clone' of the parent cat/ brother/ sister. That would be inbreeding, no matter what the species.

          'Selective breeding' would be more in-line with what you're thinking and it a practice that works quite well. Just look at the Clydes

      • How an embryo was formed is no longer significant, if inbreeds have 100% the same genes. Thats his point.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:25AM (#37676884) Journal

    They are the most expensive non-Human animals right? Other than perhaps extinct animals that people want to bring back like the Saber-tooth tiger, the wooly mammoth and the Dodo (not). What about truffle finding pigs?

    Actually maybe certain transgenic animals that have had their DNA altered to express useful drugs (like goats with insulin laced milk) might be more expensive.

    Anyway, is it illegal race a cloned racehorse? Will they be requiring genetic tests on all winning racehorses? What about race horses that have already died (Seabiscuit?).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @06:33AM (#37677184)

      In most places they don't even allow racehorses to be bred by artificial insemination, they insist on live cover only.(*) That stops a few issues, swapping a whole stallion is harder than swapping a test-tube of semen, so it cuts down on fraud. Also, semen can be thinned and used to breed more mares, so the already rather inbred population would get even worse if everybody was breeding their mares to just a handful of top stallions. Natural breeding puts an upper limit on the number of foals you can get from one stallion. You could clone your horse if you wanted, but there's no way that horse would be allowed to be registered in the stud books, so you could never race it or breed other racehorses from it.

      What I have seen proposed is allowing a gelding to be cloned, once, so that you have a genetically identical stallion which can be used to breed from in place of the gelding. Currently racehorse owners just see dollar signs hanging between their stallions legs, even though it takes years to find out if your stallion is one of the few that will actually make any money at stud after retiring from racing. Since stallions can be violently unpredictable animals, it would make racing safer if they could all be gelded at the start, and just the few that are worthwhile cloned for breeding.

      Cloning famous past horses might be a disappointment anyway. Some of the record times those horses put in back then are routine these days. Although it would answer some questions about how much of that is improved training vs genetics.

      * - There are exceptions. The local racing board here allows an exemption for stallions who've been injured in a manner that prevents breeding naturally. The exemptions are granted on a case by case basis, and the stallion has to be excited by the mare he's going to be bred to, with the semen is transferred to the mare within 5 minutes.

      • by kzanol ( 23904 )
        Yes. Been done. Austrian showjumper Hugo Simon had a very successfull horse, E.T. Problem: it was a gelding which certainly made breeding the horse a challenge. Entry "E.T. Stallion", a clone of E.T wich was not used in competition, but was used for breeding. a couple of offspring of E.T. Stallion are said to be active at the moment. See []
      • by crossmr ( 957846 )

        so you could never race it or breed other racehorses from it.

        Because what? The police would arrest you? The racing overlords would have you killed?
        What would stop anyone from setting up a competing race with their own rules?

        • Yeah you could set up some kind of unlimited league where anything goes, then start setting limits when too many jockeys get killed in high-speed doped-up genetically modified horse crashes. The Formula One of the horse world.

          Meh, still boring...

          • I don't know that that would be the "Formula One" of the horse world. Formula One has been sanitized and sterilized so much over the last two decades that I suspect such a horse could almost out-run a Formula One car! ;)

            F1 is about entertainment now- not the cutting edge technology and speed.

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      Pigs aren't used for finding truffles any more, they tend to eat them.

      Dogs are better at the job, and they can be trained not to eat the goods.

      And truffles can be farmed.

      Just saying :)
    • by Dabido ( 802599 )
      More expensive than humans in many cases.
  • by aliquis ( 678370 )

    Stupid question. If it can be done it/allowed will be done.

  • Labrador retriever (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dark Lord of Ohio ( 2459854 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:26AM (#37676894)
    No wonder, they are they smartest dogs on this planet. And really good friends. And really kids friendly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NatasRevol ( 731260 )

      And, since it is South Korea, tasty!

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      We had a male Labrador.

      One day it decided to test its place on the ladder, and went for my mother.

      My father reasserted his authority as alpha male, by means of a neck grab and shake, and that was the end of the situation.

      Labradors are dogs; pack animals; and they play by their rules. Never underestimate a dog's potential, no matter what breed.
      • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

        My brother had one that tried that dominant bullshit. I walked over and very calmly punched him in the jaw. Never had a lick of trouble from him again. Just everybody setting out the pecking order.

    • Yes, yes, $(YOUR_FAVOURITE_BREED) is a proud, noble dog. Alert, intelligent, sociable, $(YOUR_FAVOURITE_BREED) is a loyal companion if correctly raised. Behavioural problems with $(YOUR_FAVOURITE_BREED) are inevitably the fault of the owner.

      Save it for Wikipedia, where thanks to gushing starry eyed defensive owners, every other breed page reads exactly like $(YOUR_FAVOURITE_BREED)'s page.

      • Yes, my dog is proud, inteligent, loyal and you don't have such friend and you will never have, unless you have Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS and will get yourself and play Nintendogs.
      • by dargaud ( 518470 )
        Well, my dog is gentle but very dumb. Yells a lot at passing people but strangely if we aren't around anybody can come to the house while she hides in the back of the garden. Great with kids and cats though. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a dog.
    • Reminds me of the person who crossed a labrador with a curly-coated retriever. He got a lab-coat retriever and was selling the puppies to scientists.

      (Thank you - I'm here 'til Thursday)

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @05:27AM (#37676898) Homepage Journal

    Monsanto has already patented their GMOs. Silly to ask if somethings goign to happen when it's already done.

    • by sosume ( 680416 )

      Impossible, the prior art is obvious! In the case of Monsanto one could argue that the seeds have been specifically engineered. However, in this case, it is a direct clone of a naturally bred dog. You cannot get a patent on a copy?

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        It would be a debatable point if you're patenting a particular expression of genes, as every non-cloned individuals genome is unique and therefore has no "prior art." Genetics are a very specific expression of something compared most modern patents.

        However, I do believe there was some discussion in the UN about banning patents on genomes, but I don't know what ever came out of those discussions. I'm sure if they did the smart thing and decided to ban patenting natural genomes that the corporate world w

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Or just de-naturalise the genome.

          1. Take prize-winning animal.

          2. Take sample cell.

          3. Make some small but patentable modification. Doesn't have to do much.

          4. Incinerate original animal, to make sure the competition can't get their hands on it.

          5. Start mass-cloneing your slightly modified and thus patent-protected genome.

  • Considering that recent, careful studies have shown that the abilities of drug-sniffing dogs are little more than police wet dreams anyway, the efficacy of the "clones" has to be questioned too.

    In most cases, the dogs responded to cues (intentional or not) on the part of the dog's handler, rather than any actual detection of drugs. Double-blind studies have shown how effective they actually are in the real world, which is... not.
    • I mean, come on, folks. Korea is claiming performance in the cloned dogs that has never been proven in the original dogs. If they are correct, it would have to be some kind of magic.
    • I remember the Toronto airport security testing out one of the electronic sniffers. It was supposed to be much more sensitive than dogs are.

      The problem is, it was too sensitive. It turns out that after a few decades of smuggling, pretty much every surface in the baggage handling are has been exposed to drugs or explosives at some time or other, so the electronic sniffer kept going off.

      When they turned down the sensitivity, it was no better than a dog.

      Case in point: 90 percent of U.S. bils carry tra []

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's why we should use cats instead: cats wouldn't respond to cues from the handler.

  • Copyright is a different protection to patent.

    A patent could protect a novel method of cloning. Ie, the specific way the geneticist uses his or her test tubes etc in the lab to get the clone. Wouldn't stop anyone breeding a sniffer dog.

    A copyright cannot protect the clone. Unless the scientist actually wrote out the genome from his or her mind in some inspired supergenius way: GTTACCAATGCA....... Which is impossible.

    • I swear I read GATTACA

    • I am pretty sure that a particular clone set (clones of a particular dog) would be patentable, just as at present there are many patented varieties of roses and other plants, that result from selective breeding. (USPTO info on plant patents []). In those cases they are effectively clones, having been created by making cuttings of the original plant. They are genetically identical. Patent would be stronger protection than copyright.

      However, from my reading of the USPTO info, those patents apply to plants, n

  • by SpaghettiPattern ( 609814 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @06:04AM (#37677056)
    How do they prove successful? Do Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs simply taste better?
  • This is the new evolution

    If you're fit enough to serve humans' purpose, you get to survive to the next generation.

    Pity those animals that currently don't.

  • I'm going to guess they have the same issues as other clones, to wit: shortened telomeres resulting in a shortened Hayflick limit [] and therefore a shortened lifespan. Subtract out the age of the dog at the time the samples used for cloning were taken.

    I made this same point (to NBC) as a possibility in early 1997 when Dolly the sheep was announced, and it turned out I was correct in my assertion; see this report: []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But sniffing another clone's ass sends them into an existensial crisis.

  • A few years ago I read that cloned animals have the same age as their originals (right from the birth), thus cloning even middle aged animals becomes less attractive financially as clones have a substantially short(er) life span.

    Is this fact still valid?

  • Anyone else see a secondary agenda here?

  • So, if I commit a crime, can I have my clone do my time?

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter