Washington, August 6 : An American women has become the inaugural customer of a South Korean company that says it is the world's first successful commercial canine cloning service, with the woman receiving 5 clones of her dog, who had died recently.
According to a report in Discovery News, Seoul-based RNL Bio cloned Bernann McKinney's dog Booger, a pitbull, in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists.
McKinney received the 5 puppies last week.
McKinney contacted Lee Byeong-chun, who heads the team of scientists working for RNL Bio, after Booger died of cancer in April 2006.
She had earlier asked a US based company to clone her dog, but the company shut down due to lack of demand in late 2006 after only producing a handful of cloned cats and failing to produce any dog clones.
The Korean scientists brought the dog's frozen cells to Seoul in March and nurtured them before launching formal cloning work in late May, according to RNL Bio.
Lee's team have identified the puppies as Booger's genuine clones, and his university's forensic medicine team is currently conducting reconfirmation tests.
"RNL Bio is commencing its worldwide services with Booger as its first successful clone," the company said in a statement.
According to McKinney, she will take three of the cloned dogs to her home in California and donate the others to work as service dogs for the handicapped or elderly.