Hwang Cloning Bomb-Sniffing Canine

By Kim Tong-hyung
Staff Reporter

Cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk has created clones of a skilled bomb-sniffing canine in active service at the request of the Jeju Provincial Police Agency, according to a key collaborator. The cloned puppies are expected to be born next month.

The four-year-old German shepherd, named ``Quinn,'' made headlines during an investigation of a high-profile child murder case that shocked the island in 2007.

Despite being trained for only three days to detect human scent, the dog needed just 20 minutes to find the body of the victim at an orchard near the scene of the crime, bailing out more than 30,000 police officers who had been searching in vain for over a month.

Considering it normally takes four to five months to train a cadaver dog, Quinn's heroics were indicators of superior natural ability as a search dog, said Hyun Sang-hwan, a Chungbuk National University scientist and colleague of Hwang at the Sooam Biotech Research Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.

Quinn is also in high demand for his regular job as a bomb-sniffing dog, being dispatched on more than 180 missions, including the 2005 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea summit on Jeju earlier this year.

The surrogate mother used for the clones of Quinn is currently expected to give birth to three puppies in January, Hyun said.

``Quinn is clearly the best search dog working for the Jeju police, which is why the provincial police agency wants the clones. We decided to provide the cloned puppies for free,'' Hyun said.

``We first took a body cell from Quinn, produced a reconstructed embryo and introduced it into the surrogate mother's womb in October. The expected dates of birth for the three puppies are Jan. 2, Jan. 14 and Jan. 21.''

During his days as a Seoul National University (SNU) scientist, Hwang was one of the key researchers involved in the 2005 cloning of Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog.

Hwang was fired from SNU in the following year after his landmark work on cloned human stem cells was exposed as fraudulent. However, Snuppy happens to be one of Hwang's verified achievements.

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