Magazine article Science News

Double Dog: Researchers Produce First Cloned Canine

Magazine article Science News

Double Dog: Researchers Produce First Cloned Canine

Article excerpt

The dogged pursuit of a South Korean research team has produced the world's first surviving cloned canine. The new puppy--dubbed Snuppy by the scientists after its birth at Seoul National University on April 24--is the genetic double of a 3-year-old male Afghan hound.

Scientists have had continuing success in recent years with cloning a variety of mammals, including cats, horses, and rats (SN: 3/23/02, p. 189; 8/9/03, p. 83; 10/11/03, p. 237). However, cloning dogs had proved particularly tricky.

According to Mark Westhusin, whose team at Texas A&M University in College Station produced the first cloned cat in 2002, dogs are "a logistical nightmare in terms of dealing with this species' reproductive physiology" Unlike most other mammals, a dog releases eggs during ovulation that aren't fully mature. These eggs must spend several days ripening inside the mother before they're capable of growing into an embryo.

Researchers typically clone an animal by harvesting eggs soon after ovulation and then stimulating the egg with electricity or chemicals to make it divide in a petri dish. Implanting embryos made of many cells increases the chances of a successful pregnancy. Because scientists have been unable to keep canine eggs alive for long outside the body, this technique hadn't worked for dogs.

Using a slightly different procedure, Woo-Suk Hwang of Seoul National University and his colleagues collected eggs from dogs about 72 hours after ovulation. …

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