Some contest winners yelp with delight for getting gift cards or small appliances. Rebecca Smith got something that’s really worth barking about: a cloned dog — the first in Britain’s history.
After winning a contest held by a South Korean tech firm that performed the test tube procedure, “Mini Winnie” was born on March 30, weighing in at just over 1 pound. The pup was cloned from Smith’s 12-year-old dachshund, Winnie.
“She is the best sausage dog in the world,” said Smith, 29, who works as a caterer in London. “The world will be a better place with more Winnies in it.”
The South Korean company, which usually charges £60,000 to clone animals — roughly $100,500 in U.S. dollars — held a contest offering the procedure at no cost in hopes it would spark more Brits to get their pets replicated. Although "Mini Winnie" is Britian's first cloned canine, the company reports that it has previously cloned some 500 dogs for pet parents around the world.
In 1996, a sheep named Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult.
Smith, who said she adopted Winnie nine years ago to help her overcome the eating disorder bulimia, was chosen as winner based on videos she submitted, according to media reports.
“Mini Winnie” was conceived after harvesting tissue from her namesake. Stored in liquid nitrogen, the tissue was transported to South Korea and placed in the eggs of a “donor” dachshund, creating a cloned embryo. That embryo was implanted into a surrogate dog and “Mini Winnie” was delivered by caesarean section.
Smith was present for the birth. "I saw it being born and it looks exactly like Winnie. It is identical. Personality-wise, I couldn’t tell you because it doesn’t see and it doesn’t hear yet. It is just a little sausage dog that wriggles around drinking milk."
Photo: Production Stills