University: Disgraced Stem Cell Research Scientist Cloned Snuppy Dog

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University: Disgraced Stem Cell Research Scientist Cloned Snuppy Dog Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 8, 2006

Seoul, South Korea ( — Seoul National University has confirmed that disgraced embryonic stem cell research scientist Hwang Woo-suk cloned the world’s first dog. The cloning of the Afghan hound named Snuppy is the only accomplishment of Hwang’s research team, which fabricated all of its embryonic stem cell research.

A panel of scientists at SNU carried out DNA experiments using samples from Snuppy, the male dog whose skin cells were used in the cloning process and the surrogate mother.

“These data are consistent with Snuppy being a genetic clone of the donor dog Tai,” Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who helped with the investigation process, told Reuters.

“It is virtually certain that Snuppy was generated from somatic cell nuclear transfer,” the SNU authorities added.

Both the Ostrander team and SNU officials had previously confirmed in January that the dog was cloned, and published their final results in the Thursday issue of the scientific journal Nature.

Snuppy wasn’t a complete success when his creation was announced. 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 in the 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.

"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 back in January.

"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.

Scientists had doubts about Snuppy’s authenticity after it became clear Hwang’s team falsified research claiming to have cloned a human embryo and patient-specific embryonic stem cells.