Forget Dolly the Sheep We now have Snuppy the Puppy

Scientists finally broken the dog barrier  and they have cloned an Afghan puppy called Snuppy from the skin cells of the three-year-old male.

The breakthrough comes after  seven years in a  global race for the dog to replicate the donor cells in the same technique developed by British scientists when Dolly the sheep was  cloned in 1998

Within a few weeks after the birth of Dolly, an American millionaire put forward five million U.S. dollars to the University of Texasto duplicate a mongrel named Missy.

The project became known as Missyplicity.

Over the years in various laboratories, scientists have cloned more sheep, pigs, mice, rabbits, cows, rats and mules. U.S. biotech company started under the name Genetic Savings and Clone and cloned a pet cat procession  but the dog was proving a real challenge to try to duplicate.

Now, Woo Suk Hwang, Seoul National University, who led the team that last year produced the world’s first cloned human embryos, reports in Nature today that he and his colleagues took a piece of skin took out of the ear of an Afghan hound and cultured the skin cells in lab dishes. Then they extracted the DNA from a cell and injected it into an egg from the female after her  DNA has been removed, so that Puppy has come from to one parent and not two.

Cloning success rates are never high. The researchers implanted more than 1,000 embryos to 123 females  in order to achieve  only three pregnancies. One fetus miscarried. Others were born, but died of pneumonia. But the third, Snuppy, so named because he was born in Seoul National University, a Labrador Retriever now shows the normal weight of 530 grams (18.7oz) and grew at a healthy pace.

The research could help breeders to find out why some breeds of dogs have bad backs, poor visibility and bad temper, and others are susceptible to the disease.

Freda Scott-Park, who became chairman of the British Veterinary Association this autumn, said the report showed how quickly the world of genetic manipulation in motion.

“Unfortunately, media interest is likely to attract pet owners to want their pets cloned as the latest favorite recreation.

This requirement is unlikely to be met untill the efficiency  of the cloning is raised,” she said. “The cloning of animals raises many ethical and moral issues to be properly debated within the profession.”

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