Last year, a Korean geneticist produced for Russian police forces a pack of cloned Belgian Malinois which were reportedly cloned from the best sniffer dogs Korea had to offer. The dogs were created in the Seoul-based Sooam Biotech Laboratories operated by Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk, a geneticist who previously made headlines with the announcement of his plans to clone the woolly mammoth.
While the world is still waiting anxiously for that development, the dogs were purported to be some of the best examples of genetic engineering the world currently has to offer.
Except that they aren’t. The dogs, each valued over $100,000, have reportedly been complete and utter failures. According to the Siberian Times, the dogs are incapable of performing even the most basic police dog tasks. The Siberian Times quotes Aleksey Kolmogorov, deputy head of Russia’s canine service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who claims the dogs failed because they’re not used to the brutal Siberian climate:
One of them failed to perform any task. Immediately, it lay down because of the cold. The second dog was slightly better, but completed only 50% of tasks. They are not adapted to our harsh conditions, they are smooth coated, cannot withstand frost.
Didn’t anyone think of that before they sent smooth-coated dogs to one of the coldest places on Earth? Sheesh. The dogs were unveiled last year at the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, a fitting location given that these failed genetics experiments might soon go the way of the mammoth themselves. Hopefully, the Siberian police will find a shred of warmth in their cold, icy hearts to give the dogs more fitting (and hopefully warm) homes as pets.
As research in cloning continues, geneticists are beginning to discover that cloned animals seem to fare just as well as other animals when it comes to long-term health. Could the cloned dogs’ failure simply be due to the harsh Siberian climate? Or could it be the language barrier? Whatever the reasons, the dogs will likely go down in genetics research history as an expensive delay in the race to create designer animals. Sorry, doggies.