Scientists say they have cloned a German shepherd that helped with search-and-rescue after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The five puppy clones were delivered to owner and former Halifax, Nova Scotia police officer James Symington and his wife, who now live in Los Angeles.
Before the dog Trakr died in April at age 16, the couple entered a contest that promised to clone a pet dog for free.
The contest was sponsored by the California company BioArts International. BioArts partnered with a South Korean company led by disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, whose team performed the cloning.
BioArts says their customers have paid, on average, $144,000 to clone their canine pets.
James Symington posing with the five puppies cloned from a German shepherd.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
According to a BioArts press release, Trakr was credited with hundreds of arrests and recovered more than $1 million in stolen goods during his career as a police search-and-rescue dog.
Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Symington arrived with Trakr at Ground Zero as one of the first K9 search-and-rescue teams on the scene. There, under horrific conditions, Trakr located the last human survivor to be found in the rubble, according to BioArts.
"Once in a lifetime, a dog comes along that not only captures the hearts of all he touches but also plays a private role in history," Symington wrote in his winning essay in the company's contest to find the world's most "cloneworthy dog."
Symington met Trakr's clones - Trustt, Solace, Valor, Prodigy and Deja vu - for the first time this week.