Can Your Dog Be Cloned?

  • Share
  • Read Later

BIG DOG ON CAMPUS: Snuppy, the first cloned dog, at Seoul National University

With so many animals already cloned — sheep, cows, mice, cats — what is so important about the successful cloning of a dog announced Thursday in Korea?

It's an important step because a dog's reproductive system is slightly different from that of other mammals. The eggs of dogs, which are needed to grow the resulting clone (in this case, a cell from the ear of an adult Afghan hound was the genesis of the cloned puppy) do not mature in the ovary, but instead finish their development in the oviduct. It's much easier for scientists to obtain eggs from the ovary than from the oviduct. Many researchers have tried, but failed to get the timing right to get the most mature eggs.

How were the Korean scientists able to get the eggs?

This lab, at Seoul National University, which made news earlier this summer when they announced a more efficient way of producing human stem cells using a similar cloning process, works seven days a week, for almost 24 hours a day. By keeping a constant vigil for the hormonal signs of ovulation in their female dogs, the scientists were able to surgically remove the eggs at just the right time.

Will I be able to clone my pet dog?

Not yet, and perhaps not for many years to come. Snuppy, as the Korean researchers named their clone (for Seoul National University puppy), was the only puppy to be born out of 123 cloned cells that were transplanted to surrogate female dogs. It's still an arduous process, and one that's not likely to be very successful without further refinements.