On November 20th, six cloned dogs were admitted to the ranks of the Beijing policy, state-owned Beijing Daily reported. The patrol dogs were created using somatic cells taken from what the police described as “preeminent police dogs.”
The project, which is being conducted with the private Beijing-based pet-cloning company Sinogene, aims to retain the genes of the force’s best canine companions, thereby reducing training times and increasing breeding efficiency.
The genetic samples used to clone the six police dogs were taken from two Belgian Malinois specimens named Sijiding and Arui.
Five-year-old Sijiding was granted the “meritorious dog award” by China’s Ministry of Public Security, while four-year-old Arui, introduced from abroad, is particularly adept at biting and attacking.
The project team took skin samples from the skins of Sijiding and Arui, and established a fibroblast cell line two weeks later. After completing the embryo culture, the new cloned embryos were implanted into the fallopian tubes of the female surrogate dogs.
On August 1st and 4th of this year, six cloned male dogs were born and all survived. Five of them are samples from Sijiding, one is from Arui.
In particular, on August 1st, the surrogate dog produced four cloned police dogs at the same time. This also marked the first time in the world when four cloned dogs were born at the same time.
The six cloned police dogs were born with an average body weight of 450 grams and an average body length of 18 cm. After birth, the dogs’ body weight standards, breathing, heartbeat and other physiological indicators were scored, especially strength, feeding, breast-seeking and other behavioral reflexes.
According to the Nanchang Police Dog Base of the Ministry of Public Security, the DNA of the six cloned dogs was consistent with upwards of 99% of the donor dogs.
These are just a sort of test, which the police will carefully observe, in preparation for a mass cloning of “excellent” police dogs and the establishment of a gene bank.
The head of the Beijing Public Security Bureau Criminal Investigation Corps, the police detachment of the police dog, Ma Jinlei is the initiator of the Municipal Police Public Security Bureau’s “Technical Research Program for Police Dog Precision Breeding Core”.
He said that the police dog base breeds more than a hundred police dogs every year, but many excellent police dogs with superior ability cannot stay on duty forever. Thus, at the beginning of 2019 the effort with Sinogene began.
After being accepted into the police, the six dogs underwent three months of training.
Liu Shasha, a dog training policeman, told reporters that after the birth of six police clone dogs, the base began to work on their sense of touch, hearing, smell and space, and they were all touched, spatially trained, made temperature sensitive, they were played music, given food. Induction and other adaptive training fill the gaps in the early training of police puppies from 0 to 8 weeks, laying a foundation for improving the adaptability of the puppies to the environment, as well as forming disease resistance.
From the second week onwards, the dogs began to receive training in physical fitness, obedience, accessibility, and guts. They are bigger than their peers, and their concentration and possessiveness are stronger. These are the excellent qualities for policing in the future.
At present, the six cloned police dogs have been nearly four months old, with an average weight of 15.3 kilograms and an average body length of 52 centimeters. In addition to the same appearance, they have great similarities in learning memory, exploring desire, courage, and aggression.
According to the assessment criteria in the “Public Dog Breeding Rules of the Ministry of Public Security”, their above-mentioned ability levels have reached the level of 6-month-old police dogs in at the age of 4 months.
In the future, excellent dogs will have their genes mixed to produce even better specimens.
China has long been doing experiments in cloning. In January 2019, it was reported that scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) in Shanghai reported that they had used gene-editing to disable a gene in macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) that is crucial to their sleep–wake cycle. The scientists then cloned one of those monkeys to produce five primates with almost identical genes.
China is pulling ahead quickly in cloning and gene-editing technology.
In Europe and the US, non-human-primate research increasingly faces regulatory hurdles, costs and bioethical opposition. This stands in contrast to China; the country’s 2011 five-year plan set primate disease models as a national goal. The science ministry followed up by investing 25 million yuan (US$3.9 million) into the endeavour in 2014.
At the moment, the process of cloning monkeys is inefficient and expensive. To create the 5 cloned macaques, the team started with 325 cloned gene-edited embryos, which they implanted into 65 surrogate monkeys. The process cost about $500,000.
Expectedly, cloning dogs was much cheaper, however there is no information provided regarding the costs.
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