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Halifax rescue dog to be cloned

July 2nd, 2008, 01:42 PM
A Canadian search-and-rescue dog that helped recover the last survivor from the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11th, 2001 is set to be cloned after winning a contest to be considered the world's "most clone-worthy" dog.

Trakr, a German shepherd, is now 15 years old and suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder that means he no longer has use of his back legs.

But a California-based company, BioArts International, picked Trakr for cloning based on an essay competition offering owners a free chance to replicate their pet.

Trakr's owner, former Halifax police officer James Symington who now lives in Los Angeles, submitted the winning essay.

"Trakr means the world to me," Symington said in a news release issued by BioArts. "To know that part of him is going to live on is just beyond words. It's the greatest gift I've every received."

The company said it would send a sample of Trakr's DNA to the South Korean lab of its partner, the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, and the clone could be ready by the end of this year.

"We received many very touching submissions to our contest," BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne said in a release. "But Trakr's story blew us away. His many remarkable capabilities were proven beyond all doubt in our nation's darkest hour and we view the work of cloning him as a great honour."

The company says it is also auctioning off the opportunity for five other pet owners to clone their dogs.