The UK's first dog clone is alive and well in a laboratory in Seoul, South Korea, after a London woman won a competition advertising free animal cloning -- a procedure that typically costs upwards of $100,000. Rebecca Smith, a young cook, entered the competition to clone her dog Winnie, a 12-year-old dachshund who she claims helped her overcome bulimia in her late teen years.
"She is desperate to be cloned. The world will be a better place with more Winnies in it," Smith told BBC's Channel 4. "Everyone who meets her loves her."
"Mini Winnie" was cloned at the Sooam Biotech lab, which has cloned over 500 dogs previously -- a number of whom live in the U.S., and some of whom were featured on TLC's "I Cloned My Pet." Sooam Biotech is neither the only animal cloning lab in the world nor the only lab in South Korea; the country currently dominates the world's animal cloning industry.
According to the Daily Mirror, Mini Winnie was cloned using a basic cloning process, which involves placing the original dog's cells in a donor egg -- or, more commonly in donor eggs -- that has or have been stripped of DNA. The resulting embryos are then implanted in a number of surrogate dogs (sometimes more than 100). Many of the embryos do not continue to develop through gestation, causing dangerous miscarriages for the surrogates, and few cloned puppies survive after birth.