by Steven Ertelt
January 10, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Hwang Woo-Suk’s team may have faked every aspect of their embryonic stem cell research, but a Seoul National University panel investigating their work determined that they did successfully clone Snuppy, an Afghan hound that is the world’s first cloned dog.
The SNU panel said DNA analysis proved the animal cloning claim that it was born of somatic cloning, an official said.
The panel commissioned institutes specializing in both human and animal DNA testing to analyze samples from Snuppy.
"We obtained somatic tissue from the egg donor, blood samples from Snuppy, from Tie, the dog that provided somatic cells, and from the surrogate mother and engaged three independent test centers for the analyses," the official report said.
"Results from analyses of 27 markers that allow distinguishing amongst extremely-inbred animals and of mitochondrial DNA sequencing indicate that Snuppy is a somatic cell clone of Tie," the SNU probe concluded.
The Korean institute HumanPass ran initial tests in December and said Snuppy was authentic.
Snuppy wasn’t a complete success when his creation was announced. Hwang said his research team used DNA from skin cells from the ear of a three year-old Afghan hound to make him.
However, nearly 1,100 dog embryos were created and transferred to 123 surrogate female dogs. Ultimately, only three pregnancies resulted, according to Hwang, with one dying as a result of a miscarriage and another dying 22 days after birth from pneumonia.
That alarms pro-life groups who say similar results in human cloning would result int he deaths of tens of thousands of unborn children in failed attempts to clone a human being.
Some other animals have been cloned, with mixed results. Most notably, British researchers cloned Dolly the sheep, the first mammal ever cloned. Hundreds of unborn sheep died in the process and Dolly eventually had to be euthanized because of problems stemming from the cloning process.