Mini Winnie: Britain's first cloned dog is born

Image source, channel 4
Image caption,
Mini Winnie was born in Seoul on 30 March

Scientists have produced the first cloned dog in Britain after its owner won a competition.

Rebecca Smith, 29, put her 12-year-old dachshund Winnie forward to be cloned in a £60,000 competition organised by South Korean tech firm, Sooam Biotech.

She won, and the cloned puppy, called Mini Winnie, was conceived in a test tube and born in Seoul on 30 March.

Rebecca says the 10-day-old puppy looks identical to her pet.

Image source, channel 4
Image caption,
Rebecca Smith said the clones looks identical to Winnie

The competition saw dog owners competing to win the chance to 'immortalise' their pets for free, in a cloning process that usually would cost around £60,000.

The company has created 400 cloned dogs and they are now looking to expand their business across the world.

Media caption,
Owner Rebecca Smith tells 5 live: "They will be very similar hopefully"

Rebecca's experience will be shown as part of a Channel 4 documentary called The £60,000 Puppy: Cloning Man's Best Friend.

The show will follow the team from Sooam Biotech as they search the UK in search for a dog to clone.

Image source, Channel 4

The first dog was cloned in 2005, by a team from Seoul National University.

Scientists hoped dog clones would help them understand and treat a range of serious human diseases.

In 1996, scientists in Scotland produced the world's first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cells, Dolly the sheep.

A decision was taken to "euthanase" Dolly in 2003 after a veterinary examination showed that she had a progressive lung disease.

Image caption,
Dolly the sheep was the world's first mammal cloned from an adult cells

Despite advances in the cloning process, some animal welfare groups say risks are still high.

Dr Katy Taylor, Head of Science at The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said: "Cloning is a very unpredictable and extremely wasteful process.

"In order to produce just one 'perfect' clone, many puppies with the same genes as a loved animal will be born.

"Some of these puppies will be aborted or will die soon after birth from unpredictable health complications and severe birth defects."

The £60,000 Puppy: Cloning Man's Best Friend airs on Channel 4 at 2200 BST on 9 April.

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