A British couple paid nearly $90,000 for two puppies cloned from their dead boxer, the BBC reported.
Laura Jacques and Richard Remde, from West Yorkshire, got the puppies after scientists took DNA from their dog, Dylan, and implanted it into an egg that had the nucleus removed and implanted into a surrogate mother. The procedure was done at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea, and the couple got the puppies on Dec. 26, or Boxing Day in the U.K.
— Akhil Sharmaa (@iamakhilsharmaa) December 28, 2015
— Metro (@MetroUK) December 26, 2015
Jacques told the BBC that the puppies are “really cute and look just like Dylan,” their dog who died six months ago of a heart attack.
Scientists had warned them that the technique had previously not worked on dogs who had been dead for more than five days. However, it turned out to be a success of sorts.
Jacques told The Telegraph newspaper: “After they got him out I still couldn’t quite believe it had happened. But once he started making noises I knew it was real. Even as a puppy of just a few minutes old I can’t believe how much he looks like Dylan. All the colorings and patterns on his body are in exactly the same places as Dylan had them.”
— Joohee Cho (@jooheecho) December 26, 2015
Remde said, “I was much more overwhelmed with emotion at the birth than I expected to be.”
The puppies will be named Chance, after a character in the Disney film “Homeward Bound,” and Shadow, named after another character in the movie.
Jacques noted that the procedure won’t sit well with many people. “It is a controversial topic and there will be people who don’t agree with it but there will be loads of people that would love to be able to do it,” she said.
— SBS News (@SBSNews) December 24, 2015
Speaking to the Guardian, she said the whole procedure was “surreal.”
“I lost all sense of time. I have no idea how long everything took, the whole thing made me feel very disoriented. I was just clinging on to Richard for about an hour and a half after Chance was born,” she told the paper.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) responded to the news, and it expressed worry.
“There are serious ethical and welfare concerns relating to the application of cloning technology to animals. Cloning animals requires procedures that cause pain and distress, with extremely high failure and mortality rates. There is also a body of evidence that cloned animals frequently suffer physical ailments such as tumors, pneumonia and abnormal growth patterns,” a spokesperson said.