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“How Much is That Doggie in the Test Tube?”

I couldn’t improve upon the title in the New York Times International Edition article on Korea’s nascent dog cloning industry so it’s a direct quote.  It appears that the disgraced Dr. Hwang Woo Suk is competing with a former student to create the world’s first commerically viable process.

Per the article:

The high-stakes battle pits South Korea’s best-known cloning experts against each other: One is Hwang Woo Suk… other is his estranged protégé, Lee Byeong Chun, who also has been indicted on fraud charges.

In 2005, Hwang and Lee created the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy. But since then they have split into rival laboratories, each vying to become the world’s top animal cloning center. The competition is spurring technological advances, bringing down the cost of cloning dogs and raising the prospects for a new South Korean export industry.

New industry?  Yeah, for all of us who happen to have an extra $100-150k lying around to copy a dog.  Well, there may be good reasons to do so, but generally that much money for fido v.2.0, or a bowl of 보신탕, (yeah, you knew that one was coming so might as well get it out of the way) is a little steep for me.

Hwang and Lee are garnering all the credit, but it’s probably sandal wearing grad students, buried deep within the bowels of a lab at SNU who are doing all the work.

  • KrZ

    Sandals in the lab seems like a good way to get your toes soaked in ethidium bromide.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    In the pic, check out the girl in the center. She’s probably the one that’s most overlooked and underappreciated and about ready to bring an AK-47 into the lab…

    That pic should be a caption contest in itself!

  • cm

    Looks like Lee won.

    This was right in the front web page in Canada:

    http://www.thestar.com/sciencetech/Science/article/472318

  • user-81

    “It’s a dog-clone-dog world out there.”

    Oh, the caption contest was yesterday?

    OP: “that much money for a copy of fido, or a bowl of 보신탕”

    I think the superrich clientele depicted in the Brando/Broderick movie “The Freshman” would pay $50K to eat a clone of Snuppy. I think superrich who want to clone a beloved pet would pay $50K for a clone.

  • http://! bumfromkorea

    :-D Anyone stupid enough (like me) to watch The 6th Day? RePet, anyone?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    # 3,

    Hwang, now being based in the U.S., has a smaller supply of sandal wearing, disposable grad students to sit around for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, bent over test tubes, squeezing a pipettor over and over again. Lee, on the other hand, has an endless supply of them.

  • Elise

    its sad because some rich guy with issues would pay that much to eat expensive, cloned dog.

    meanwhile there aren’t even enough facilities for the stray mutts and cats.

  • Zonath

    Hwang seems like the kind of dude that would buy his kids a goldfish, and when the goldfish went belly-up, would quickly buy a replacement and try to pass it off as the original, in hopes that the kid wouldn’t notice. I would not trust the guy to clone an ant.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I’d imagine cloning an ant would be tough, given how small an ant embryo would be. I don’t know much about cloning, but I have heard that it’s related to how large the embryo is at the single cell stage and how complex the animal is genetically. That’s why salamanders were among the first animals cloned way back in the early 80′s I believe. Simple creature (from a genetic standpoint), huge single cell embryo.

    Yeah Elise it’s too bad that people are willing to spend 10′s of thousands of dollars to copy their old pet, but are not willing to adopt a needy dog or cat that’s basicly on death row in some pound.

  • user-81

    I support Hwang. When all my Itaewon binge drinking starts to catch up with me, I want to have myself cloned. When my clone is a healthy 18 year old, I’ll have him killed so I can get his liver back. If they’ve successfully performed brain transplants by then, I’ll just have our brains switched and give the clone a few more years with my bad liver while I get a second life with the younger me’s body. Without Hwang, none of this would be possible.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Oh… this is just plain wrong…

    http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_may2004/DogGone.jpg

  • globalvillageidiot

    cm, Glad to see that Booger has come back to life.

  • Tripod

    My wife was a published researcher when she was an undergraduate student…not that you’d ever find her name on the article. She and her team created, funded, conducted the experiment, and wrote the article…and then their professor plagiarized it.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    A lot of that going on in Korea. I blame confucianism.

  • Zonath

    I’d imagine cloning an ant would be tough, given how small an ant embryo would be.

    Well okay then… I was looking for something that would be ridiculously easy to clone, but apparently it’s not an ant… So just change my post to read “I would not trust the guy to clone an earthworm.” instead of “I would not trust the guy to clone an ant.” My bad.

  • NES

    @10 User

    The Island?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399201/

    @14 WangKon

    Blame neo-Confucianism instead.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    @ 16, that’s right! Confucianism merely provided the framework… neo-confucianism provided the rationale.

  • user-81

    #16, Shit! Michael Bay stole my evil idea! I’d better not tell him about making cars that turn into giant robots.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    ummm… I think the evil Wa pirates took that idea from you like way back in the early 80′s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformers_%28toyline%29

  • user-81

    It’s hard to be creatively evil these days. :(

  • NES

    @17 WangKon

    It’s sad because Confucius emphasized that those of higher status are to lead through moral example and kindness, yet he gets blamed for neo-Confucianism’s emphasis on domination by those of higher social status.

    BTW, wasn’t Confucius Korean? ;) (just wait until the Chinese bloggers get a hold of that one!)

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Oh yeah… Confucius WAS Korean… and so was Sun Yat-sen (or Sohn Il Seon)!

    (thought another name would help Baidu find it easier)

  • Tripod

    #21,

    Christians were supposedly commanded God not to kill…and we all know how that turned out.

  • NES

    @23 Tripod

    Christians were supposedly commanded [by] God not to kill…and we all know how that turned out.

    The Israelites were commanded that, and then Jesus added not cursing your “brother” to it. I interpret turning the other cheek to refer to minor personal conflicts and squabblings. One is still permitted, as examples, to defend one’s family, friends, and country to the death if the circumstances warrant it.

    The punishment for “killing” as spelled out in the Bible was the death penalty, and the Israelites were commanded by God to go to war and kill people (like Joshua leading the armies against the Canaanites as one example). A better understanding of “Thou shalt not kill” is “Thou shalt not murder.” And, yes, I know the definition of murder has become very subjective as of late.

    My personal favorite is when vegetarians use that as an argument for their lifestyle. They forget that God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice animals for atonement.

  • mizar5

    Why would anyone clone an ant? Or for that matter a Korean?

    Some things are just redundant…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    hahaha… well… if you can clone a Korean, then you can a Mexican, or a German or an American… but why would you want to clone an American?

  • KrZ

    “Albert Einstein receiving his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman in 1940.”

  • user-81

    “Why would anyone clone an ant? Or for that matter a Korean?”

    You’re probably at the top of several people’s list of Koreans they wouldn’t want cloned. ;)

  • mizar5

    “hahaha… well… if you can clone a Korean, then you can a Mexican, or a German or an American… but why would you want to clone an American?”

    Just to tick off user-81.