Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Send in the clones

Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, will be mated later this year with the world's second canine clone known as Bona, researchers said Monday.

"The mating may take place late this year when the female dog called Bona grows up," Kim Min-Kyu at Seoul National University (SNU) said. Snuppy will celebrate his second birthday on Tuesday while Bona was born on June 18 last year. They are Afghan hounds.

"Both Snuppy and Bona are healthy. The mating is aimed at learning about their reproductive capacity," said Kim, who was part of the team which created both dogs.
Snuppy was created under the stewardship of now-disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk. So far, the team has cloned one male and three female Afghan hounds.

Hwang was hailed as a national hero in South Korea until a university inquiry ruled that some of his work on cloning embryonic human stem cells was fake. He is now on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges but has insisted he can still prove he created the first cloned human stem cells.

The work of his team in creating Snuppy has been verified by SNU and other authorities. Snuppy (Seoul National University puppy) is leading a healthy life, Kim told the Korea Times.

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