Sunday, October 26, 2014

The World of Dog Breeding Is About to Change

The cloning of dogs seems to strike at the economic roots of breeding show dogs.
Dr. Hwang Woo Suk runs the only company on earth that clones dogs for customers willing to pay $100,000.

Dr. Hwang led the team that cloned the first dog in 2005, an Afghan hound carried by a Labrador Retriever surrogate. Dr. Hwang has produced more than 550 cloned puppies since.

Dr. Hwang has recently teamed up with BoyaLife, a Chinese biotechnology company with 28 subsidiaries, to build a 667,000-square-foot research laboratory that will be China’s first commercial animal cloning facility.  The grounds will be landscaped to look like a park. Think Jurasic Park for dogs, cows, and pigs.

The U.S. military has already commissioned Dr. Hwamg to clone two Belgian Malinois puppies from an animal they believe is the elite of the elite among special forces dogs.

High-performing special purpose dogs are a particular interest of Dr. Hwang, who wants to know if a puppy cloned from a truly exceptional working dog will end up performing as well as its genetic twin -- an area of economic interest to those who breed and train police dogs, explosives detection dogs, service dogs, and hunting dogs.

Cloned dogs will be only part of the produce at the Chinese cloning facility now being built -- look for cloned cows, pigs, and rare and endangered species.

Animals will also be cloned and genetically manipulated to have certain diseases, such as a beagle with Alzheimer's, or a Labrador Retriever with diabetes.

Cloned pigs will be raised as a spare parts factory for humans needing heart valves and the like.

And human cloning?  If it occurs in the next 20 years, it will likely occur at Boyalife and Dr. Wang will be the force pushing for it.

As for dogs, how many cloned animals will it take to end the world of dog shows?

We have "pupsicles" on ice now of course; frozen semen from top dogs that died as long as ten years ago.

But that simply extends the breeding "life" of a male dog.  The wobble of uncertainty still comes with crossing.

But a clone removes that wobble entirely, and since so much of the dog show world swings on winning that one top ribbon at Crufts or Westminster, the cloning of dogs seems to strike right at the economic roots of breeding top show dogs.

This video has nothing to do with the post -- just very cute.

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