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Tibetan mastiff cloned for commercial use

2014-09-25 17:12 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

China's first commercial cloning company, which was established on Wednesday, hopes to improve China's pet market through more high-quality breeds.

The joint venture between Boya Life, based in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, and Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, from the Republic of Korea, was set up in Weihai City in east China's Shandong Province.

On the same day, three pure-blooded Tibetan mastiff puppies cloned by the company were born to a surrogate mother.

The puppies were cloned from an eight-year-old hound named Jiama. The shaggy, lion-like mastiff, native to southwest China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, has won several championships in China for the breed.

The Tibetan mastiff is one of the world's most expensive dog breeds. A pure pedigree pup was sold for a record 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) last year.

The breed, known for its loyal but fierce disposition, has traditionally been used as a shepherd and watchdog by Tibetan herders. In recent years, they have been preferred pets and guardians for the country's nouveau riche.

The issue of cloning is still controversial. Prior to the firm's establishment, cloning in China had been limited to scientific research. More and more companies have shown interest in investing in the technology for commercial use, such as in the animal husbandry industry.

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