by Steven Ertelt
December 18, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — A scientist who was a member of Hwang Woo-suk’s team that falsified embryonic stem cell research in an international scandal says he has cloned the world’s first female dog. The only success Hwang’s team had was the cloning of the first dog, a male Afghan hound, and this claim would expand on that.
Lee Byeong-chun, a veterinary professor at Seoul National University, claims he’s created the first female cloned dog, another Afghan hound he’s named Bona.
The team submitted a paper about the cloning to the international veterinary journal Theriogenology.
Lee said Bona was born June 18 using animal cloning technology and said two other female dogs, named Peace and Hope, were cloned as well. He says DNA tests prove they are all authentic clones.
"This was a process that must be done to see if a cloned dog has reproduction capabilities," Lee told The Associated Press.
The cloning process is meant to "advance medical research" Lee told Reuters, and "and it is not yet intended for people to clone their pets."
A government statement on the cloning indicated the process was done to produce drug treatments from animal stem cells and to preserve animals on the brink of extinction.
Lee said he used the same animal cloning technology Hwang’s team used to create Snuppy, the first cloned dog, but perfected the process.
To create Snuppy, Hwang’s team killed a total of 1,095 reconstructed dog embryos and transferred them into 123 surrogates, yielding only Snuppy and another dog that died 22 days after birth.
This time, Lee’s team killed 167 dog embryos and transferred them into 12 surrogate mothers to produce the three cloned dogs.
Pro-life advocates say the destruction of hundreds of dog embryos points to the killing of human beings that would take place if scientists try to clone human beings.
Lee was suspended from SNU for three months following the embryonic stem cell research controversy. He is on trial, along with Hwang and other colleagues from the team, for misusing private and public research funds.
Should he be convicted and go to prison over the charges, he could lose his SNU post.