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South Korean stem-cell expert Hwang Woo Suk, who fell from "supreme scientist" status to almost a pariah in cloning research after he was found to have fabricated some results a decade ago, is set to make his comeback in a big way - with industrial-scale animal cloning.

His laboratory, Sooam Biotech, has partnered Chinese biotech company Boyalife Group to open the world's largest animal cloning factory in China's northern port city Tianjin by early next year.

Announcing the news last week, much to the horror of many animal activists, Boyalife said the 200 million yuan (S$44.2 million) project will start producing 100,000 cattle embryos a year and eventually ramp up production to one million a year, to cater to the country's rocketing demand for quality beef.

These figures may seem astronomical, considering that Sooam has cloned only about 700 dogs since 2005, when Dr Hwang famously unveiled the world's first cloned dog - Afghan hound Snuppy.

But Sooam spokesman David Kim expressed confidence it will be able to increase production in collaboration with Boyalife and other Chinese partners. "We have...