Russia now has cloned dogs as part of their armed forces.
Dr. Hwang Woo Suk of South Korea, who has been actively trying to bring the extinct wooly mammoth back to life, cloned Belgian Malinois dogs from South Korean sniffer dogs in order to maximize their unique abilities for police and security service, The Siberian Times reports.
The cloning took place in the world’s first animal cloning center, Sooam Biotech. More than 500 dogs have been cloned, and some are now headed to Russia to be put to use in the country’s armed forces.
“These dogs are very young, in Korea they went through a basic training, so handlers here will decide what best to choose for them depending on their abilities and talents,” Semyon Grigoryev, director of the All-Russian Military-Historical Society in Yakutia, said of the dogs being given to Russian trainers.
Grigoryev said that the dogs will likely be used as explosive and drug sniffers in the Russian police or FSB.
“The military-historical society works in co-operation with Russian police and special services, and provides dogs to their orders. I know that the society's trainers are usually most keen on explosive sniffers, so I would guess this is the field where the cloned dogs will be used,” he said.
The dogs have been given to Russia as a gift from Sooam Biotech, Grigoryev said.
The relationship between the museum and the South Korean laboratory exists because of the wooly mammoth cloning project. Yakutia has a great deal of mammoth biological material, and the Yakutsk Mammoth Museum at North-Eastern Federal University has collaborated with Sooam Biotech on funding joint expeditions to discover mammoth carcasses, as well as participating in teaching the Yakutia team about gene engineering.
The dogs will be the first of their kind in Russia.
"These are three male dogs: Tom, Mark and Jack, all are one year old,” Valery Chugunov of the Russian Military Historical Society said, according to RT. “They feel good after the trip and have already been observed by the veterinarian. They have good appetite and play all the time.”
Chugunov added that the dogs are stronger and more muscular than dogs who are conceived naturally.
The first task for the dogs will be language retraining, so they can understand commands in Russian, as well as adapting to the cold.
“When we released them for a walk, they instantly ran back,” Chugunov said. “But I think they will get used to the [Russian] cold.”