‘That special dog’ and the ethics of cloning sciences

Dog Clones

A good dog is irreplaceable and unforgettable. Some of us dog lovers have had the blessing of at least one good dog in our lifetime, and if given the opportunity we’d have a dog just like them. For just under $100,000 it can happen.

In South Korea, Sooam Biotech (the most efficient cloning lab in the world) a company founded by Woosuk Hwang, the South Korean geneticist who was found guilty of ethical breaches in 2005 and was awarded “Invention of The Year” by Time Magazine, has nearly perfected the process of cloning dogs. But, Hwang has a long history that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

What prompted an investigation into Hwang’s work, before the founding of Sooam, was the promise he made to make a handicap boy walk again. The information obtained from the investigation was that some of Hwang’s findings were seriously flawed and it was concluded that it couldn’t be by accident. However, this didn’t stop Hwang from pursuing his ambitions.

Although he was found guilty he served no jail time and because of avid supporters there were plenty of private donors who funded a new research facility, which is what brings us to Sooam Biotech.

While Sooam makes a lot of its money on cloning dogs, the research being conducted behind the scenes is far more serious. Regardless of the past allegations the facts are evident in Hwang’s achievements. These achievements have caught the attention of some of the greatest geneticists in the world, some have even joined his team.

Hwang’s stated goal is to help eradicate some of the most common ailments that plague humans. Coincidentally, dogs seem to have very similar diseases as we do, thus they can be used and studied, along with pigs, to help achieve the goal of changing some of the most common problems we face medically, such Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and so on. With Hwang’s recent breakthrough in somatic cell nuclear transfer, he has paved the way for a much more intense study that will receive funding from both government and private entities in various countries.

While many of us in America may shun the idea of cloning humans, the move towards this reality is ever so closer because of people like Woosuk Hwang. Make no mistake, there will be a market for it, just as we see with cloning dogs. Recently China caught on and jumped on board the cloning dog bandwagon. Russia as well has been conducting major research in the field of cloning and is currently in a fight with Sooam Biotech over the mammoth cloning technology.

While the idea of cloning is not new in recent times, the technology has progressed to a disturbing level. And we’d be sticking our heads in the sand if we didn’t take the research seriously. It goes well beyond dogs, and it’s only moving forward at a rate much faster than we have anticipated.

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