They didn’t get much publicity, but three female Afghan Hounds, Bona, Peace and Hope, were cloned this year. The team was led by Lee Byeong-chun, a veterinary professor at Seoul National University in South Korea, according to this story by CBS.
Lee, along with project leader Hwang Woo-suk, was shown to have falsified research in their effort to create human stem cells through cloning. Hwang and Lee and other members of the team are on trial on charges of misappropriating research funds. However the DNA of Snuppy and the three female dogs show that they are true clones.
Hwang chose Afghan hounds because of their striking good looks. However, Afghans also have the reputation of being the dumbest dogs alive.
Before you start dreaming of having your own dog cloned, you might consider this: much of the funding for dog cloning was granted by Genetic Savings & Clone (is that cute?) of Sausalito, California, which has invested more than $19 million in the attempts to clone the first dog.
The company is owned by Arizona entrepreneur, John Sperling. Tissue samples from his beloved pet Missy, a Husky mix who died in 2002 at the age of 15, have been saved for cloning purposes.
Before finally succeeding with the birth of Snuppy, the South Korean group worked for nearly three years, seven days a week, 365 days a year and used 1,095 eggs from 122 dogs. The next procedures were much easier. To produce the female clones 167 reconstructed embryos were transferred into 12 surrogate mothers to produce the three living female puppies.
Because of biology cats have been easier to clone than dogs. “CC” (Carbon Copy), the first successful cat clone, was born in December 2001. The price tag for cloning a pet cat has been set at $50,000. There is some concern with long range health problems in cloned animals.
When you win the lottery, is there a dog or cat in your life, past or present, you would like to have cloned?