September 4, 2008

World’s First Cloned Dog Sires Puppies

South Korean researchers said Thursday that the first cloned dog, has become a father after the world's first successful breeding involving only cloned canines.

A Seoul National University (SNU) research team said Snuppy, the Afghan hound, impregnated two cloned bitches of the same breed through artificial insemination.

Team leader Lee Byung-Chun said it is the first time in the world that puppies have been born from cloned parents.

He said one of the 10 puppies born between May 14 and 18 died but nine others remain healthy.

"This shows the reproductive ability of a cloned dog," Lee said.

His team also produced the world's first cloned wolves and plans to carry out a similar breeding experiment with them.

Lee said the breeding of cloned dogs "opens the way for cloning sniffer dogs and seeing-eye guide dogs, which usually have to be sterilized for training and lose the ability to reproduce."

The now-disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk created Snuppy in 2005. However, his team's work in creating the first cloned dog (Seoul National University puppy) has been verified by SNU and other authorities.

A university inquiry later that year ruled that some of Hwang's work on cloning embryonic human stem cells was fake.

He is now on trial for several charges including fraud, embezzlement, and ethical breaches.

Lee"Ëœs own research team earlier announced it had successfully cloned dogs capable of sniffing out human cancers by using tissue from a retriever in Japan.


Image Caption: An Afghan Hound in a conformation show. Courtesy Ed Schipul - Wikimedia