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> Worlds First Cloned Dog

Master Of His Domain
Group: Admin
Posts: 12736
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Posted: Aug 3 2005, 11:43 PM
Quote Post
See Science Category for the first cloned kitten that sold for $50,000

Factoid: America consumes 12 billion animals each year.

I believe we have been eating cloned animals for decades.

I believe we have been eating cloned pigs, cloned cattle and cloned chickens.

Walkies for Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog
By Roger Highfield
Science Editor
(Filed: 04/08/2005)

Man is now able to clone his best friend: this Afghan hound, Snuppy, is the world's first cloned puppy.

After years of failure, the humble mutt has been added to the wide range of animals that have been cloned by somatic-cell nuclear transfer - the method that produced Dolly the sheep - by Prof Woo-Suk Hwang, of Seoul National University.

Snuppy, the world's first cloned puppy, with his father

user posted image

Prof Hwang is the South Korean scientist who stunned the world last year with the first cloned human embryos.

The frisky copycat canine has the same floppy ears as his three-year-old genetic father, whose ear provided the skin cell from which Snuppy was cloned.

The advance will boost efforts to preserve rare species and pave the way for developing stem cell treatments for major dog diseases, then for human diseases.

But the struggle to create Snuppy underlines the dangers and dismal success rate of cloning. Scientists point out that the much publicised suggestion that cloning could be used to bring back a long dead pet is misguided.

The effort to clone dogs began in earnest in 1998, when John Sperling, an Arizona-based billionaire, gave a team at Texas A&M University a $2.3 million, two-year research grant to clone Missy, the bitch that he and his wife had adopted from an animal shelter. Spayed and of unknown parentage, it was otherwise impossible to continue her "breed".

The efforts of Prof Mark Westhusin and colleagues helped to lay the foundation of today's breakthrough. But, although his team succeeded in obtaining two pregnancies, all that resulted was a still-born clone of Missy, who died in 2002, aged 15.

One major problem, Prof Westhusin said yesterday, was the difficulty of producing mature, unfertilised canine eggs in a test tube, used to create a clone from one of Missy's cells. Another problem was the reproductive cycle of the dog.

"They only cycle once every six months to a year and there are no consistent, repeatable hormone treatments to synchronise dogs or get them to come into heat."

Today, in the journal Nature, Prof Hwang's team reports the successful creation of two cloned Afghan hounds, although one died of pneumonia after 22 days. The surviving 19oz puppy, born on April 24, was named Snuppy, as in "Seoul National University puppy", by Prof Hwang. He told The Daily Telegraph yesterday: "The fur colour of the nuclear donor [the dog that was cloned] is similar to Snuppy's current fur colour," adding that the coats of Afghans often change with age.

"The genetic tests confirm that Snuppy is a 100 per cent match to his genetic donor. At this time we can only go as far as to say that they seem to share some basic temperamental traits."

"Snuppy is a perfectly frisky, healthy, rambunctious Afghan," said co-author Prof Gerald Schatten, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dog eggs are difficult to work with because they are released from the ovary earlier than in other mammal species. Prof Hwang's team collected mature eggs from a dog's oviduct, the equivalent of the fallopian tube. These were reprogrammed with DNA from an Afghan hound to create cloned embryos.

The two puppies were the result of transferring 1,095 cloned embryos into 123 surrogate mothers - mixed breeds, in Snuppy's case a yellow Labrador retriever - leading to just three pregnancies, one of which miscarried. The practical uses in dog breeding remain distant since cloning is very inefficient.

Prof Westhusin pointed out how success depended on "having hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs". He added: "Who knows how many additional dogs they had to select and collect eggs from to get enough to produce the 1,095 cloned embryos?"

Cloning can now be used to study the genetics of dog breeds and make it much easier to create genetically altered dogs, though Prof Schatten said that this was not an aim of this project. Nor are they interested in cloning pets.

"Nuclear transfer is an extraordinary tool for scientific and medical research. It has never been about reproductive medicine or making any members of our family, even our pets," he said.

Prof Hwang hopes that the work could provide a key insight into the use of cloning to make chameleon cells, called stem cells, which can turn into any of the 200-plus types in the body.

There are high hopes that a range of serious diseases can be treated by using cloning to make brain, pancreas and other cells that are matched to a patient. Until now, however, so-called therapeutic cloning has been tried out only on inbred strains of mice.

Now that Prof Hwang's team had started to create lines of cloned embryonic stem cells from patients, "we need to develop outbred models for therapeutic cloning, such as dogs", said Prof Schatten.

"The first beneficiaries of stem cell transplants might be our own best friends that suffer from numerous diseases and disorders like us, such as dementia, blindness, hip, joint failures, sleep disorders and diabetes."

Prof Ian Wilmut, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the team that created Dolly and is to collaborate with Prof Hwang in developing stem cell treatments for motor neurone disease, congratulated the South Koreans.

"The result emphasises that it is necessary to optimise the method of nuclear transfer for each species. In this case it seems that success followed the use of a source of eggs that were likely to be of the highest quality. Prof Hwang and his colleagues allowed maturation to proceed in the dog before recovering eggs which had matured within the animal at the appropriate stage."

The work further emphasises that there will be no fundamental barriers to using the technique to clone babies, only technical details.

However, Prof Wilmut said: "There is a great need for a global ban on human reproductive cloning. Successful cloning of an increasing number of species confirms the general impression that it would be possible to clone any mammalian species given an optimised method. Ironically, it is the USA which does most to prevent the establishment of a ban while, at present, it would not be illegal to clone a person in some states of the USA."

Dr Freda Scott-Park, the president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, said: "No one should underestimate the consequences of this work."

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
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