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July 20, 2009

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Cloned dogs on patrol in S. Korea

SOUTH Korea has put cloned dogs on patrol to sniff out drugs at Customs.

Six genetic duplicates of a single Labrador retriever have been working at the country's main Incheon international airport and three other Customs checkpoints to deter drug smuggling after completing 16 months of training, the Korea Customs Service said yesterday.

They are part of a litter of seven born in 2007 through cloning a skilled drug-sniffing canine in active service.

They were all named "Toppy" - a combination of the words "tomorrow" and "puppy" - but one dropped out of training due to an injury.

The cloning work was conducted by a team of Seoul National University scientists who in 2005 successfully created the world's first known dog clone, an Afghan hound.

Only about three out of every 10 naturally born dogs the university trains end up qualifying for the job.


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