A picture of the five puppies Trust, Solace, Prodigy, Valor and Dejavu, from AFP. They're either named after virtues or love motels.
Five clones of a search and rescue dog which helped locate people trapped in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks were formally presented to their ancestor's former handler.
James Symington, a former Canadian police officer, choked back tears as he formally took possession of the five descendants of his beloved German shepherd named Trakr, who died in April.
Symington was presented with Trakr's offspring after winning a competition organized by California firm BioArts International -- the "Golden Clone Giveaway" -- to find the world's most "cloneworthy" dog.
Symington said he hopes the puppies -- Trustt, Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu -- will go on to follow in Trakr's footsteps.
"We're here to celebrate that Trakr's legacy lives on in these five beautiful puppies," he told reporters. "If they have the same attributes Trakr did, then hopefully they'll develop into world class search and rescue dogs."
Symington and Trakr arrived at the site of the World Trade Center collapse, commonly referred to as Ground Zero, on September 12, 2001 and were one of the first K9 search and rescue teams on the scene.
After working nearly non-stop for 48 hours, Trakr located the last human survivor found in the rubble of the twin towers.
And a little from MSNBC:
The retired Canadian police officer's first meeting with the German shepherd pups on June 14 was an emotional one, according to a statement released by BioArts International. "They're identical — down to the smallest detail," Symington said of the pups. "Few dogs are born with exceptional abilities — Trakr was one of those dogs. And if these puppies have the same attributes as Trakr, I plan on putting them in to search and rescue so they can help people the way Trakr did."
The cloning took place at Sooam Biotech Research Foundation [ed: 수암생명공학연구원] of South Korea and the procedure was led by Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk, who produced the world's first canine cloning in 2005. The process was an intricate one: Hwang's team replaced the genes in eggs from random dogs with genes harvested from Trakr. After stimulation, they grew into embryos and were then placed in surrogate mothers. The goal was to create one clone, CBS News reported, but five genetically identical puppies resulted from the surrogate pregnancies. The first of the pups was born on Dec. 8 of last year and the last arrived on April 4.
These articles don't do it, but most seem to preface the first mention of South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk with "disgraced." From the Christian Science Monitor's horizons blog:
A great story, right? Well, yes. But today some are raising questions about the South Korea company that helped BioArts with the cloning process. That company is headed by Hwang Woo-suk, a scientist who was publicly disgraced in 2006, after he claimed that he had successfully cloned human cells. A panel at Seoul National University eventually concluded that Hwang had fabricated all of the evidence. (Hwang is still credited with cloning the first dog in 2005.)
There you go. This reminds me of a story from last week, from the Korea Times via Extra! Korea:
Disgraced gene scientist Hwang Woo-suk has been a pariah in the science world since his landmark studies on cloned human stem cells were exposed as fraudulent.
So it's hard to say what the organizers of the Jang Young Shil Award of Science, Technology and Culture were thinking when they decided that Hwang was the most deserving candidate for this year's plaque.
It was an obviously bold, if unwise, decision to name Hwang the winner of the award, which was launched in 1999 to honor Jang, the legendary Joseon Kingdom inventor.
However, Hwang was unable to participate in the awards ceremony at the Press Center in downtown Seoul, due to a previously scheduled court appearance.
At the Seoul Central District Court, Hwang was reunited with five of his former laboratory colleagues, as they continued their game of finger-pointing over who should take most of the blame for faking data.
My family bought a poodle---perhaps a poodle-mix, we're not sure---back in 1991, and believe it or not he was alive when I was home last summer in 2008. He still takes daily walks around the block, but admittedly he's in bad shape. If he were to die while I'm overseas, I really doubt my family would say anything to me over the phone, so I'm not exactly sure he's alive today. Regardless, as big a part of our family as he has become, and as cute as he is---brown miniature poodle with white paws and a white chin---I would find it very creepy to have five more of him made posthumously.