View Full Version : Korean Scientists Clone Afghan Hound

08-03-2005, 06:05 PM
Korean scientists clone Afghan hound




Move over Dolly. They've cloned man's best friend. South Korean scientists ,who have been blazing ahead in controversial areas of embryo research, have cleared another hurdle, producing the world's first cloned dog -- an Afghan hound.

The advance won't answer the prayers of dog owners determined to replicate Fido or Fluffy because the team of researchers has said that it is focusing on trying to cure people, not clone pets. What's more, their procedure wouldn't work on a large scale. Still, the technical leap could help jump-start a pet-cloning industry that is still in its infancy. And the breakthrough is certain to further fuel an already heated debate about the ethics of cloning -- human or otherwise. [Snuppy] Snuppy, the first cloned dog, right, at age 67 days, with the three-year-old Afghan hound he was cloned from. Undated photo courtesy Seoul National University.

The unveiling Wednesday of 14-week-old Snuppy is the latest success for Woo Suk Hwang and his team at Seoul National University, which have been vaulted to international prominence since a report last year that they had successfully cloned a human embryo and extracted its stem cells. Snuppy is a blend of the acronym for the university, SNU, and the word "puppy." Details are reported in an article in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

The lab's success at creating the first cloned canine is likely to reinforce South Korea's leadership in the field and stoke worries by American scientists that ethical and regulatory concerns may be hampering progress in the U.S. While some of the techniques Dr. Hwang and his team use on human cells, and have now been applied to dogs, remain legal in the U.S., the administration of President Bush has sought to have them outlawed.

The South Korean team's three-year effort to clone a dog was motivated by an interest in developing new models of human diseases that could be used for testing drugs or other treatments, says Dr. Hwang, who himself owns six dogs, including a Siberian husky and a Doberman. "There's no hope, no answer, no technology, if we do nothing," he said. "This work is from bench to bedside."

Ever since scientists in Scotland cloned a sheep named Dolly, in 1996, researchers have pressed forward with attempts to copy other mammals, succeeding with rats, pigs, cows and horses, among others. But copying dogs has proved far more difficult because their eggs, unlike those of most mammals, mature outside of a dog's ovaries, making it difficult to predict when they have become mature enough to harvest.

Copying dogs also opens the door for mass pet cloning in a way that replicating sheep never could. In the U.S., commercial pet-cloning efforts are led by Genetic Savings & Clone Inc., a Sausalito, Calif., biotechnology company funded by education and health entrepreneur John Sperling, with its mission the cloning of Missy, Mr. Sperling's dog who died several years ago.