Meet Britain's first cloned dog, "mini Winnie" - picture

Published Wednesday, Apr 9 2014, 18:10 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
Us Brits are huge pet lovers and it's always a distressing time when our four-legged friends pass away. But that could all change as Britain's first cloned dog has just been born.

Winnie, a 12-year-old dachshund, was picked from millions of dogs as the winning pooch to be replicated - and now there is "mini Winnie".

Winnie clone

© Channel 4

Her owner, Rebecca Smith, entered a £60,000 competition to have her pooch cloned after reading an article about the new process and, after sending in videos of her much-loved mutt, she won.

The cloning company Sooam Biotech was then sent a sample of Winnie's skin cells. which were put into eggs from a donor dog of the same breed, before a spark of electricity helped to create a cloned embryo, which turned into a surrogate dog.

And when the time came, Rebecca, a 29-year-old from London, then travelled to Seoul, in South Korea, to see "mini Winnie" born on March 30.

Rebecca said to the Daily Mirror: "It is exciting. My sausage dog is very special but she is 12 and not going to be around forever."

However, the canine clone, who was born via caesarean, won't arrive to Rebecca in England for a whole six months, due to quarantine laws.

Winnie cloned dog 2

© Channel 4

Although Sooam Biotech hope people will be queuing up to have their dog doubled - despite the £60,000 cost - not everyone agrees with the process.

Sir Ian Wilmut, a creator of the famous Dolly the sheep clone, said: "Owners will be disappointed. So much of the personality of a dog comes from the way you treat it. I am sufficiently skeptical."

Animal rights organisation PETA added: "It's understandable that people fantasise about replicating an adored dog but cloning can only replicate genetic material."

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