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5-Animals: Research confirms Snuppy is world's first cloned dog



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TITLE:  Research Confirms Snuppy is World's First Cloned Dog
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   09 Mar 2006

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Research Confirms Snuppy is World's First Cloned Dog

LONDON - His creator has been discredited and controversy has long
surrounded him but scientists confirmed on Wednesday that an Afghan hound
named Snuppy is the world's first cloned dog.

A panel of experts at Seoul National University and researchers in the
United States carried out similar DNA experiments using blood samples from
Snuppy, the cell donor dog and the surrogate mother.

They said the results showed he was cloned by researchers led by disgraced
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk.

"These data are consistent with Snuppy being a genetic clone of the donor
dog Tai," said Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research
Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Seoul National University Investigation Committee and Ostrander's team
both announced their findings in January. Their research studies are
published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.

Doubts about whether Snuppy was a genuine clone surfaced after an
investigation showed Hwang falsified data in two groundbreaking studies in
which he claimed to have cloned human embryos to provide stem cells.

It was considered one of the biggest cases of scientific fraud in recent
history.

The stem cell research had raised hope for patients suffering from diseases
ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's. Stem cells are master cells that have
the potential to develop into any cell type in the body.

Scientists believe they could act as type of repair system to provide new
therapies. But their use is controversial because the most promising stem
cells for treating human disease are derived from very early human embryos
left over from fertility treatments.

Snuppy, short for Seoul National University puppy, was born last year after
a normal pregnancy. He was created using somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Cloning is carried out by extracting genetic material from the cell of the
animal that is being cloned and placing it in a donor egg whose nucleus has
been removed. The egg is activated to develop into an embryo and transferred
to a surrogate mother.

Ostrander's team used blood samples shipped from Korea and DNA samples from
11 Afghan hounds registered with the American Kennel Club in the United
States in their research.

The South Korean panel of scientists also used autopsy samples from the now
dead mixed-breed dog that provided the egg used to clone Snuppy.

"It is virtually certain that Snuppy was generated from somatic cell nuclear
transfer," the Seoul researchers said.


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