The $155,000 Puppy

UPDATED 02/16/2009 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/16/2009 at 01:00 AM EST

Edgar and Nina Otto's late yellow Labrador Lancelot loved bagels, pillows and shoes. So far their 11-week-old puppy Lancelot Encore hasn't shown identical predilections. But, says Nina, "he looks exactly" like the 12-year-old dog whose 2008 death from skin cancer left the Boca Raton, Fla., couple "devastated." Luckily for them the Ottos had the foresight to freeze Lancelot's DNA before he was ill. They also had the funds—Edgar is the son of NASCAR cofounder Edward Otto—to buy a $155,000 copy of the dog. Created by one of the Seoul scientists who produced Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, Lancey is the first made-to-order single cloned pup. (Last July a California woman reportedly paid a South Korean lab $50,000 for a litter of five pit bulls cloned from her dead pet Booger.) To grow Lancey, Lancelot's DNA was placed in another dog's egg, from which the genetic code had been removed, and then incubated by a surrogate. Amazing science, maybe, but $155,000 for a pet? That amount "could feed, house, spay and neuter 4,000 animals," says Joan Radabaugh of the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. The Ottos counter by saying they give plenty to charity, including $330,000 since 2007 to the Tri County Humane Society. And they won't put a price on joy. "I feel like this is our first dog," says Nina. "We are thrilled."

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