A dog that sniffed out survivors from under the rubble of New York’s World Trade Center after the 2001 terror strikes is to be cloned, the California-based firm conducting the procedure said.
Trakr, a German shepherd who lives with his owner James Symington in Los Angeles, was picked by BioArts International as the most “clone-worthy” canine in a competition offering an owner a free chance to replicate their pet.
Symington said he and Trakr were among the first search and rescue teams to arrive at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks, and were responsible for locating the last human survivor under about 30 feet (nine meters) of debris.
Now aged 15, the dog no longer has use of his back legs due to a degenerative neurological disorder. According to BioArts, experts believe the condition may be linked to exposure to toxic smoke at the World Trade Center site.
“Trakr means the world to me,” Symington said. “To know that part of him is going to live on is just beyond words. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received.”
In the next month, BioArts said it would transport 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.