Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Koreans clone an Afghan and expect to be hounded. August 3, 2005
Can’t we clone them after they are house-broken?— The Korean researchers who seem to be ahead of the rest of the world in cloning mammals now have cloned an Afghan hound. It wasn’t easy. Using the same somatic cell nuclear transfer technique that produced the famous sheep Dolly, the researchers, led by Woo Suk Hwang at Seoul National University, used 1095 eggs containing the DNA of a three-year-old male Afghan (taken from ear cells) and transferred to 123 canine surrogates. Only three pregnancies resulted; one miscarried. Two clones were born, but one died of pneumonia at 22 days, leaving Snuppy, born of a Labrador retriever bitch. New Scientist reports the researchers are already worried about being inundated with requests from pet owners to clone little Snoopy, but one warned “We are not in the business of cloning pets; we perform nuclear transfer for medical research.” So far, labs have cloned sheep, mice, cats, rats, cows, goats, pigs, horses, rabbits and a mule. They do keep climbing the mammal tree don’t they? Dog eggs are notoriously difficult to work with because they don’t mature readily in labs. Hwang used naturally ovulated egg cells, cells released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes. Other researchers point out the potential. For instances, there are dog models of human diseases that could be studied by cloning. Pedigreed dogs suffer from multiple genetic diseases, like hip dysplasia, that might be treatable if the genetics could be better understood. The experiment is also a step toward cloning canine stem cells. The real question is: why an Afghan, possibly the world’s dumbest dog? Well, said one researcher, having a distinctive dog means that if we got a dachshund we’d know something funny happened.