Woman wins competition, clones her dog

A British woman passionately needs her 12-year-old dachshund, Winnie, to be copied. So she wins a competition and a Korean company clones Winnie for free.

Big Winnie cannot wait for Mini-Winnie. Channel 4 screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If your lover left you and you still pined painfully, would you have them cloned?

This cheery view of the near future slaps my face as I consider the news that a woman has cloned her dachshund.

As the Mirror reports, 29-year-old Brit Rebecca Smith entered a competition. The winner would receive a free cloning procedure at Korean company Sooam Biotech.

I know that scientists have already duplicated sheep. I also know that some scientists believe they will soon be able to create nouveau mammoths.

But the idea that if your little Lulu is 12 years old -- and therefore soon heading for Ghostworld -- you can just make another one still strikes me as peculiar.

Smith explained it to the Mirror like this: "We Brits do have a close attachment to our dogs, so it is exciting. My sausage dog is very special but she is 12 and not going to be around forever. My boyfriend always joked, 'We need to get her cloned.'"

And so laughter begat fact.

Smith traveled to Korea to witness her "Mini-Winnie" (Win 2.0?) being born by caesarean section. Naturally, this is now the subject of a British TV show.

Smith told the BBC: "Big Winnie is very fat and smelly now and Mini-Winnie is not." She added: "They will be very similar, hopefully, because they are the same."

This, surely, is the question: Can they ever be the same? Isn't Big Winnie's personality at least partly formed by the way she was treated, the food she ate, the environment she enjoyed?

Sir Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep, told the Mirror: "If you spend £60,000 on a cloned dog you will treat it differently. I am sufficiently skeptical."

The two Winnies haven't yet met. There is quarantine still to be endured. Smith, though, clearly feels this is a Winnie-Winnie situation.

She said during the Channel 4 trailer for her TV show: "Winnie is the best sausage dog in the whole world. She is desperate to be cloned because the world would be a better place with more Winnies in it."

Dogs are desperate to be cloned. Discuss.