Bay Area Company Clones Dead Pooch

Mill Valley's Bioarts International clones dog

A Florida couple pained by the death of their Labrador retriever has cloned the beloved family pet.

The now 10-week-old golden lab was created using the DNA from the family's deceased pet in a South Korea laboratory by a Bay Area  bio-tech firm and is the first single-birth, commercially cloned pup in the United States, the Miami Herald reported.

The Otto family brought home the cuddly 17-pound, golden-haired pooch they named Lancelot Encore after the original dog, Sir Lancelot, on Monday.

The cloning process cost Nina and Ed Otto -- whose father founded NASCAR -- a hefty $155,000. The Mill Valley company Bioarts International did the work.

"People think that cloning dogs is a stepping stone to cloning people. Dogs are actually harder to clone than people," said company CEO Lou Hawthorne.

"He looked just like my original Lancelot so I was thrilled," Nina Otto, 66, told the "Today" show on Wednesday. "The most interesting thing about this Lancelot is we noticed that he has bonded immediately within an hour with every other pet in the house."

The Otto family also has half a dozen dogs, 10 cats, six sheep and four parrots.

"It truthfully is amazing to me that this process has come to be and that I am getting if not my dog, certainly the essence of Lancelot and it looks so much like him that, well, he's a clone so he should look like him," Nina Otto said. "Lancelot was very human and he, he just, we used to call him our Prince Charming."

Otto said she sold some big time jewelry to finance the cloning.

"Yes, it's expensive now, but as we know with everything, once it becomes common knowledge it loses its value and will become less expensive," she said. "It is economically not a good idea, but it was done, so thank God and thank God the money is gone and he is here and that's what's more important to me."

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