Posted at 03:23 PM ET, 01/17/2012

South Korea clones American dog for $50K after his death

A New York-based woman has gotten her dog back from the dead.

Tarantola with Double Trouble. (Image via ABC News/Videograb)
Three years after her beloved Trouble died, Danielle Tarantola paid $50,000 to South Korean scientists to have his DNA cloned. She watched the birth of the new puppy on Skype, who she named Double Trouble. Tarantola says the puppy, who is now home with her, is not just an exact genetic replica of her old dog — “even the personality is the same,” she told ABC Nightline News. “It’s amazing.”

Cloning first became a hot topic in 1996, when researchers at the Roslin Institute in Scotland successfully produced a cloned sheep named Dolly. Dolly was the world’s first cloned mammal,l and successful clones of horses, deer, cattle, cats and dogs followed in her wake.

Time magazine reports that South Korea sees dog cloning as a fledgling industry, but a profitable one. South Korean company RNL BIO sold a cloned pit bull terrier to an American client in 2008 for $50,000. In 2009, the company sold a cloned Labrador named Lancey to a Florida couple for $150,000.

But as ABC points out, there is a reason the cloning of dogs only occurs in South Korea, a country with few ethical standards for the treatment of dogs.

Often, the clones don’t survive because of abnormalities. Sometimes, two clones are birthed but the client will accept only one. (Tarantola says she may accept a second clone that was produced, to be named Triple Trouble.) Other times, the dogs used in the cloning process are killed and then eaten.

Tarantola told ABC News that she is convinced she did the right thing to get the pet she loved back.

“When I got married . . . I had him in a tuxedo,” Tarantola said of Trouble, whose face is painted on a wall in her house, on pillows and on a bedspread. “I loved him to death. I couldn't, no, I probably did love him more than some people who were involved in my life.”

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By  |  03:23 PM ET, 01/17/2012

Tags:  World, South Korea, cloning

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