June 18, 2009

Cloned 9/11 dog produces five puppies

The dog who found the last survivor beneath rubble at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City has been cloned, it's owner says.

James Symington's search-and-rescue German shepherd Trakr" has since died, but he got five perfect clones free Wednesday from the Northern California cloning company BioArts International.

Symington, a retired Canadian police officer who now lives in Los Angeles, won a contest BioArts had to find the most clone-worthy dog.

Once in a lifetime, a dog comes along that not only captures the hearts of all he touches, but also plays a private role in history, Symington wrote in his winning essay, Bio Arts said.

BioArts said it cloned Trakr working with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation of South Korea under the direction of Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk, who produced the world's first dog clone in 2005.

The Los Angeles Times reported Woo-Suk's cloning work has been controversial and that he has been accused of faking evidence of human cloning.

The Times said the American Society for the Cruelty of Animals raised concerns about animal cloning.

Reports on the health and condition of mammalian animals produced by cloning have indicated a variety of anatomical and physiological problems, the group said.