SKorean cloning expert to re-create dogs for province

August 31, 2009
Pictured are the 6-month to 2-month-old cloned puppies of Trakr, a German shepherd, who sniffed out survivors from under the rubble of New York's World Trade Center after the 2001 terror strikes. South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk plans to present two cloned dogs to one of the country's provinces to help it nurture a bio-technology industry, his research centre said Monday.

South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk plans to present two cloned dogs to one of the country's provinces to help it nurture a bio-technology industry, his research centre said Monday.

The Sooam Biotech Research Foundation led by Hwang said it was ready to clone a Tibetan Mastiff for North Chungcheong province.

"We are willing to provide two cloned between late September and early October," Hyun Sang-Hwan, chief adviser at the foundation, told AFP.

"We hope our symbolic work will help the province's drive to nurture its bio-engineering industrial complex."

Hwang has been banned from research using human eggs after some of his work was found to be fake. But his work in creating Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, has been verified by his university and other authorities.

Hyun denied Hwang would clone a German shepherd named Trakr, which helped locate people trapped in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001.

The province said last week that Hwang would deliver two clones of the dog to a zoo in Cheongju, 90 kilometres (54 miles) south of Seoul.

Hwang's team had presented five clones of Trakr to its former US handler in June. The dog itself died in April.

Hyun said there had been discussions with the province about cloning Trakr but the project was shelved.

Once a national hero, Hwang was stripped of all government honours and funds including the title "Supreme Scientist" after his university concluded that some of his claims were fake.

He is on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges, but insists he can prove he created the world's first cloned from a human embryo.

(c) 2009 AFP

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