The team's announcement by Hwang Woo Suk, the South Korean scientist in the world in embryonic stem cell research. But to make it born
|Family portrait at the table.
Snuppy, in the center, between the clone father (left) and the surrogate mother. In South Korea man's best friend gives his best at the table: it is a gastronomic delicacy.
Photo: © Seoul National University.
It is a male Afghan baby born by caesarean section from a surrogate mother, of Labrador race; it's called Snuppy, a name that recalls the famous Peanuts rascal but that actually is the acronym of "Seoul National University puppy" from the name of the South Korean university that gave it birth; and was born on April 24th, but the announcement was only given now.
Famous father, surrogate mother. Snuppy's "father" is Hwang Woo Suk, nicknamed "the king of cloning": last May his team succeeded in creating the first lines of "tailor-made" embryonic stem cells taken from cloned embryos from adult cells of 11 human beings.
An experiment that caused a sensation. To achieve Snuppy the same technique of transfer of the adult somatic cell nucleus used to clone Dolly was used. Hwang removed the genetic material of the egg, replacing it with the nucleus of an adult somatic cell obtained from an Afghan male dog; with a small electric discharge the development of the new embryo was made "to leave", which, at the right moment, was implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother.
Dr. Dobermann. The creation of a single cloned specimen resulted in numerous attempts: 1095 embryos were reconstructed and implanted in 123 surrogate mothers. Only two have come to end the pregnancy, with an efficiency rate of 1.6%. Very low in itself.
In addition one of the two puppies died of pneumonia after 22 days from birth, but they assure the researchers did not present any anatomical dysfunction.
It will serve? The South Korean experiment is important but raises doubts. From the scientific point of view it is a success because it is very difficult and complex to make canine oocytes mature in the laboratory. The ovaries of dogs, in fact, release the eggs much earlier than the other mammals.
From the "ethical" point of view, however, there are already those who fear the development of a cloned pet industry. "The success in creating the first cloned dog in the world is fundamental for the goal of treating, with therapeutic cloning of stem cells, diseases such as cancer and diabetes, not only in humans, but also in animals" it was immediately hastened to explain Hwang. However, the scenario is still very far: according to a recent study, 75% of cloned animal embryos die within the first two months of pregnancy, 25% are born dead or with very serious deformities.
(News updated August 4, 2005)