Five pit bull puppies cloned from a dead dog, Booger, have been "born". Booger’s owner, Bernann McKinney, paid $50,000 for the cloning of her beloved pet, a bargain in view of the $150,000 the company, RNL Bio, will charge other customers. RNL Bio claims McKinney has obtained the the first commercially cloned dogs. Â Â Â
RNL Bio, a South Korean company, is, however, facing a challenge from BioArts International which says it owns the worldwide exclusive license to clone dogs. Â Bio Arts International claims it is the first company to produce the first commercially cloned dogs, pointing to Missy, a dog from which 3 puppies were allegedly obtained. Â Â
BioArts International claims its license which also applies to cats and endangered species, was granted by Start Licensing, Inc. for the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloning patents for cloning of Dolly, the sheep at the Roslin Institute. Â
In fact, BioArts International ran an online international auction of five cloned dogs in a program called "Best Friends Again".
Claiming that Bio Arts’ license only applies to sheep, RNL Bio, for its part, says Seoul National University granted it the exclusive worldwide license to clone dogs. It’s not clear, though, that the University has any patented rights to the technology.
The complications don’t end there.
RNL Bio’s team is headed by Lee Byeong-chun, a former colleague of Â Hwang Woo-suk who was indicted for embezzlement and violating bioethics laws by fraudulently claiming he had created human embryonic stem cells from cloning.
Hwang Woo-suk was also one of the inventors of dog cloning while he was at Â Seoul National University. He now works for with Sooam Biotech Research, a BioArts affiliate.
So…..RNL Bio claims Hwang Woo-suk has no right to use the dog cloning technology from his work at Seoul National University.
Ironically, the surrogate mothers for the pit bull puppies are mixed breed dogs. Â
Pet cloning like pet mills and pet rental companies, is another sordid aspect of the pet trade. It’s about making money off grieving pet owners with no regard for the animals brought into the world. It’s a business likely to be used by pet mills, animal fighters, horse racers, animal researchers and the like.
And, how could anyone justify cloning pit bulls as millions of them die every year in shelters, forgotten and alone?