While South Koreans scientists have been known for cloning beloved pets that have died, they have also found much more practical applications of this technology. Cloned super sniffing dogs nicknamed “Toppies” (for “Tomorrow Puppies”) now patrol Korean airports, checking for drugs. These Labrador Retrievers have proven extremely successful in their job. You might ask, why is this a big deal? It turns out that the economics of training sniffing dogs make cloning, despite its expense, worthwhile.
As the article mentions, training a sniffing dog costs $40,000, but only has a 30% chance of being successful. The cloned dogs, reproduced from a prized security dog named “Chase,” have 100% success rate. Even with a cost of $100,000 per cloned dog, it is still cheaper on average to use the cloned dogs.
Sniffing out drugs is only the beginning of plans for these dogs. Future plans include having them detect people who are sick, as communicable diseases brought in through the airport are said to cost South Korea millions. Below, you can see a CNN video following Tutu, one of these cloned super sniffers.
(flickr photo credit: Gore Fiendus (Jerry Frausto))