August 12, 2009

Cloned Dog Sniffs Itself To Drugs

Officials said Wednesday that a cloned sniffer dog has proven itself by detecting drugs at South Korea's main airport just weeks after starting service.

The dog, which is named Tosun, detected 0.1 of an ounce of narcotics in an envelope stored in a tightly zipped bag at Incheon International Airport, according to Korea Customs Service's statement.

This was the first achievement made by a cloned animal on government service.

"It is a great achievement," Kim Dae-Keun, a customs official working in the narcotics-related department, told Yonhap news agency.

"Compared with ordinary sniffers, which have to undergo a longer period of getting accustomed to working conditions, Tosun made a marked score less than a month after being deployed."

Tosun is one of seven dogs that were cloned by scientists in 2007 at Seoul National University from a renowned Canadian-born sniffer dog.

One dog dropped out because of an injury.  The remaining six were deployed at Incheon airport and other regional customs offices in July to help crack down on narcotics trafficking.

The pooches were claimed to be the world's first cloned drug-sniffers.

There are 15 sniffer dogs at Incheon, of which three are clones.

According to the customs statement, Tosun's achievement shows that cloned dogs are better than ordinary dogs at detecting narcotics, and it plans to deploy more.