Stories tagged canine

Aug
05
2005

On Wednesday, a group of scientists from Seoul National University unveiled a black and white Afghan hound named Snuppy that is genetically identical to its three-year-old "father."

Snuppy is the result of a process that involved transferring 1,095 canine embryos into 123 surrogate mothers. Only three successful pregnancies occurred. One foetus miscarried but two others were delivered; Snuppy was born on April 24 and his "brother" died from pneumonia after 22 days.

Snuppy is the latest in a series of animal cloning attempts since Dolly, the sheep cloned in 1997. Researchers have since cloned mice, cats, goats, pigs, mules, horses and deer. Dogs, however, are the most challenging of all mammals to clone, because it's difficult to acquire mature eggs. Snuppy's success makes many scientists believe that they have most of the key techniques necessary to clone humans.

The response to Snuppy? Anti-cloning activists are pushing even harder for a worldwide ban on human cloning. "Because this again shows that reproductive cloning is unsafe and inefficient, we call for a worldwide ban on human reproductive cloning, which is also unethical," says Gerald Schatten, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Others feel optimistic that Snuppy's creation brings medicine one step closer to finding breakthrough treatments for currently-incurable human diseases. "Bring me human eggs, the necessary social consensus and legal permission and I can get you your replica within a year," said Park Se-Pill, a senior researcher of Maria Biotech and a top cloning expert.

Many diseases, for example, like diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, and problems in hips and joints, are similar in dogs and humans.