Cloned Puppies: A New Generation of 'Trakrs'

Puppies cloned from 9/11 search and rescue dog go home to their owner.

ByABC News
June 18, 2009, 11:49 AM

June 18, 2009— -- They may look like typical, playful puppies, but James Symington's German shepherds have a lot more to live up to than learning to sit.

Trustt, Solace, Valor, Prodigy and Deja Vu are clones, created from the DNA of a 9/11 search and rescue dog named Trakr who was credited with pulling the last survivor out of the rubble on Sept. 12, 2001.

"They're calm," Symington told "They're very zen."

And they're also starting to show similar personality traits to the police dog who was by Symington's side for 14 years, including intelligence and an "extreme amount of confidence."

The puppies, born over four months using Trakr's DNA and surrogate dams, were the result of an essay Symington entered as part of a contest held by BioArts International to find the "most clone-worthy dog," according to BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne.

Hawthorne told that the Golden Clone Giveaway garnered hundreds of entries, many of them deserving and touching.

"Trakr was just so far beyond any of them," he said. He was a clear winner."

Symington, a retired Canadian police officer, thought so too. That's why he had banked Trakr's DNA several years ago on the advice of a veterinarian even though cloning wasn't even a possibility back then.

Symington said he heard about the Golden Clone Giveaway when he visited the BioArts Web site after watching Hawthorne speak about dog cloning on television.

BioArts is the same company that garnered national media attention earlier this year for cloning a Florida couple's yellow Labrador retriever for $155,000.

The company will soon be able to offer cloning for any dog owner for about $136,000 through its new subsidiary Encore Pet Sciences.

But the fee for Symington's puppies was waived, Hawthorne said, by both BioArts and the vendor the company uses for the actual cloning.