Double the Cuddles? South Korea’s Dog-Cloning Industry

Nathan Yee, Staff Writer and Copy Editor

Stories from NPR News, Business Insider and more talk about the new booming industry in South Korea’s Seoul: dog cloning. In 2015, a company located on the outskirts of Seoul, Sooam Biotech, started their research on animal cloning. Recently, the company decided to make their business public, as they started selling dog clones in their lab facility. 

Customers are able to send their dog’s preserved cell samples to the company for their pet to be cloned. Even though this may sound extremely straightforward, it’s a bit more complex. Sooam requires people to send the samples in an insulated package or deliver the cells directly to them to make sure that they can still extract the DNA from the cell, along with many other complicated requirements.

So how does Sooam actually clone the dogs solely from their cell sample? According to Vanity Fair, biologists at Sooam first separate the DNA from the cell sample. Next, they take a donor dog’s egg and, using an extremely powerful electron microscope, extract the nucleus of the cell (the part that holds the DNA). Lastly, they replace the DNA taken from the donor’s egg with the DNA from the dog being cloned, and insert the egg back into the donor dog, which will then give birth to a clone of the original dog.

“What if the dog has a disease? Will the cloned dog get it too?” Erin Teoco, an eighth grader at McAuliffe asked, questioning Sooam’s health precautions. Teoco also goes on to express her belief that the procedure costs too much. “I think that it is expensive and that there are better things to do than clone your dog,” Teoco states. Another eighth grader at McAuliffe, Matthew Meyer, agreeing with Teoco expresses, “I don’t think that it’s very smart to clone your dog because a hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money.” 

While there are a few issues and concerns that have to be worked out by the company, Sooam is still constantly shaping and changing modern day biotech as we know it.