Man can now reproduce his best friend — South Korean scientists announced on Wednesday they had created the world’s first cloned dog.
Woo-Suk Hwang and his team of researchers at Seoul National University made world headlines earlier this year when they created stem cells with a patient’s specific genetic material, derived through cloned embryos.
Now they have cemented their place as leaders in the field by creating Snuppy, the first dog cloned from adult cells by somatic nuclear cell transfer. This is the same technique used to create Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal, and other animals.
Hwang said the breakthrough in cloning dogs may advance work on combating diseases by therapeutic cloning with stem cells.
“Our research goal is to produce cloned dogs for (studying) the disease models, not only for humans, but also for animals,” Hwang told a press conference.
Snuppy, short for Seoul National University puppy, where Hwang’s lab is located, is a male born by caesarean section weighing 530 grams (19 ounces) on April 24 after a normal, full-term pregnancy in a yellow Labrador surrogate mother.
The second puppy, NT-2, weighed in at 550 grams (19.4 ounces) but died 22 days later from pneumonia. A post-mortem exam showed there were no anatomical problems with the dog that died.
A total of 1,095 reconstructed embryos were transferred into 123 surrogates to create the two dogs — an efficiency rate of 1.6 percent.
Both puppies were created from an adult skin cell taken from a male Afghan hound using somatic cell nuclear transfer. Sheep, mice, cows, goats, pigs, rabbits, cats, a mule and horse have been cloned in the same way.
The Afghan breed was selected mainly for its size and striking appearance, researchers said.
By Jon Herskovitz