China has cloned its best police dog. Now it wants to mass-produce more

china clone sherlock holmes dog gettyimages 924795148
Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

Virtually everyone reading this will, at some point in their lives, have experienced the sadness that comes with losing a beloved pet. In the case of a working animal, like a renowned police dog, the death of an older animal can hit extra hard — because it also involves the knowledge that you’ll have to train its successor to fill its shoes (or, well, paws) going forward.

In China, scientists from southwest China’s Yunnan Province have possibly gotten around this second issue by launching a program to clone a particularly skilled police sniffer dog. The genetics of the dog described as the “Sherlock Holmes of police dogs” (presumably meaning that it’s great at hunting for evidence, rather than possessing a morphine habit and penchant for smoking pipes) will live on in mass-produced form.

According to Chinese state media, the project is already paying off. Beijing-based Sinogene Biotechnology Company and the Yunnan Agricultural University this week announced the successful cloning of the police sniffer dog in question. The clone, named Kunxun, is already three months old. It is the first step in a plan aimed at “volume production” of similarly cloned police dogs that would presumably lead to reduced training times. The work is supported by the Ministry of Public Security.

Kunxun will now go through the necessary drug detection, crowd control, and evidence searching training. At around 10 months old, the dog will then graduate to the level of official police dog. Training of a police dog usually takes around five years to complete, a report claims. Police dogs are always a risky investment, since there is no guarantee that a dog will take to the work as hoped for. By cloning a successful police dog the idea is that some of this risk may be mitigated.

As futuristic as the idea of cloning dogs may be, this isn’t unprecedented. The world’s first cloned dog was created by scientists in South Korea in 2005. Since then, cloning has been used for both official and consumer purposes. One of the most dystopian and Black Mirror-like of these scenarios was the revelation by singer Barbra Streisand that she keeps the same pet pooch by cloning it over and over again.

Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Fortnite’s adorable pets are no longer hands-off, thanks to latest update

The latest update for Fortnite rights a heinous wrong. Pets were introduced in Season 6, but players were unable to pet them. Update v8.40 fixes that so players can now pet whatever adopted creature other players have on their back.
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!