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US woman celebrates cloning of 'precious Booger'

Five pit bull puppies from frozen dog's ear

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South Korean scientists have performed the first commercial dog cloning, making five copies of a US woman's pit bull terrier called Booger.

Bernann McKinney flew to Seoul to meet the five puppies born late last month to two surrogate mothers. She paid $50,000 for five copies of Booger created from cells from the deceased dog's ear. The cloning was originally slated to cost $150,000. Booger was a service dog and McKinney said she would train some of the puppies to assist handicapped people.

On hearing of the dogs' pregnancies she said: “I am so happy with the successful cloning of my precious Booger. Thank God. I have prayed God to meet Booger again and He has finally responded.”

According to AFP, an emotional McKinney told a press conference in Seoul where the puppies were shown: "They are perfectly the same as their daddy. I am in heaven here. I am a happy person."

RNL Bio, which gained the exclusive licence for dog cloning from Seoul National University in June, performed the procedure. The company is taking legal action against a US firm for patent infringement.

RNL has previously created clones of a "cancer-sniffing" dog and which have now started training.

The company said it could clone up to 300 dogs next year and was considering moving into camel cloning "for rich people in the Middle East". ®

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