How Woosuk Hwang's Sooam biotech mastered cloning
J Thoendell stashed this in Dogs
Sooam says it can clone any dog, regardless of age, size, or breed. It says about one out of three cloned embryos will develop into a healthy puppy. Though institutions like Sooam and its peers are not transparent with their success rates, it's reasonable to say Sooam is the most efficient cloning lab in the world.
To date, Sooam has cloned more than 600 dogs. At any given time, 40 to 50 of them are housed there in care rooms.
Now, it's true that pet-cloning is a niche market. There are only so many Simon Cowells in the world ready to spend $100,000 to get a dog that may have a totally different personality from the original dog's.
Indeed, that is why some people think the whole operation is sketchy. Beth Shapiro, a biologist at University of California-Santa Cruz who wrote "How to Clone a Mammoth," says what Sooam does is "kind of predatory."
"They're preying on people's heartfelt and sincere love for a pet to give them a genetic clone as if it's the same thing, but it's not," she says.
Less controversial is the cloning of genetically gifted working dogs, which is a source of millions of dollars in revenue for Sooam every year.
In 2009, Hwang was "convicted of fabricating data, misusing research funds, and trading illegally in human eggs" and received a two-year suspended prison term, but he never went to jail.
Today many scientists refuse to forgive Hwang. University of Pennsylvania geneticist John Gearhart was an editor at Science when the publication accepted the doctored research, and he took Hwang's actions as an affront to science itself. He told Tech Insider that what Hwang did "was the worst thing that a scientist could do — not only in falsifying data but in coercing people who were part of the team, for example, to donate their eggs.
"The guy, to me," he added, "was an absolute scoundrel of the worst sort."
This really got to me:
They're preying on people's heartfelt and sincere love for a pet to give them a genetic clone as if it's the same thing, but it's not.