[Paleopsych] Fortune: First Cloned Dog Has Its Day

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First Cloned Dog Has Its Day

    The arrival of Snuppy, a cloned Afghan hound, heralds both scientific
    import and deep symbolic significance.
    By [17]David Stipp

    A lot of U.S. researchers are muttering "doggone it" today: South
    Korean scientists have won the international race to clone a dog. A
    team led by Seoul National Universitys Woo Suk Hwang, renowned for
    world-leading stem-cell research, reported in the journal Nature today
    that it has produced two genetic duplicates of a male Afghan hound.

    The scientific import of this development is to some extent
    overshadowed by its political and symbolic importance. To be sure, dog
    cloning does promise to help scientists study human disease and speed
    the quest for better therapies in ways that cloning other animals has
    not. But the announcement is also likely to intensify concern that the
    U.S. has lost the lead in basic research on stem cells and cloning,
    two closely linked areas of study in which Hwangs group has recently
    made stunning advances. Last year his team was the first to clone
    early-stage human embryos and extract potent embryonic stem cells from
    one of them, which is a key step on the way to growing replacement
    tissues for patients with failing organs.

    The Koreans achievement also brings home, as few advances have,
    biologys power to touch our lives. Animal cloning has become fairly
    routine. (See slideshow: [18]A Noah's Ark of Cloned Animals) Genetic
    knock-offs of mice, rats, cats, rabbits, goats, pigs, cows, and horses
    have been produced since 1996, when Dolly the sheep proved mammals
    could be cloned. But the dog is the first cloned creature that has
    served in the military, orbited the earth, starred in movies, and
    played competitive Frisbee.

    U.S. scientists failure to win the dog-cloning race wasnt for lack of
    trying. In 1997, a crack team at Texas A&M University launched a
    high-profile, $4 million dog-cloning project backed by billionaire
    John Sperling, founder of Apollo Group (nasdaq: APOL) and its
    subsidiary, the online University of Phoenix. The "Missyplicity
    project" was aimed at cloning Sperlings favorite canine, a mutt named
    Missy. A company that offers pet-cloning services, Genetic Savings &
    Clone, was born of the project. But so far, no dog. (The closely-held,
    Sausalito, Calif.-based firm has led the way in cat-cloning, though,
    generating more buzz per manufactured unit than any company on earth.
    So far it has cloned two beloved tabbies for customers at $50,000 a

    Genetic Savings issued a terse press release on the Korean first,
    congratulating its rivals but attributing their win partly to the
    "greater availability" of dogs for research in South Korea, where
    animal-protection groups have little sway. "We expect to produce our
    own canine clones in the near future," it added.

    Dogs have proved one of the hardest species to clone. The basic
    method, used to clone Dolly and other animals including the Afghan
    hounds, involves placing an adult animals DNA, extracted from, say, a
    skin cell, into an egg cell from the same species that has had its DNA
    removed. The reengineered ovum is then implanted in a surrogate mother
    to begin gestation as the genetic twin of the adult DNA donor. The
    process hasnt worked well with dogs largely because the species
    fragile egg cells, typically obtained in an immature state from spay
    clinics, are extremely difficult to mature in the lab, said Texas A&M
    cloning expert Duane Kraemer, who in 2001 helped create the first
    cloned cat, CC. (CC now lives with Kraemer.) His group nearly
    succeeded three years ago, though--one of its Missy clones seemed okay
    in utero but was stillborn, he said.

    The Korean team reported that their two cloned dogs resulted from
    swapping out the DNA in 1,095 egg cells and implanting them in 123
    surrogate mothers. Three pregnancies resulted, two of which reached
    full term. One of the two cloned pups died at three weeks from
    pneumonia. The lone survivor, dubbed Snuppy, is now 100 days old, said
    Gerald Schatten, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who advises the
    Korean team.

    The Afghan hound was chosen for the experiment, Schatten added,
    because of the breeds distinctive look and docility--important
    qualities for Snuppy, who is likely to become as big a celebrity as

    But the Korean work will yield more than photo ops. Dog-cloning should
    pave the way for the ability to clone dog embryos and then to extract
    embryonic stem cells from them. This procedure has been demonstrated
    so far only in mice and humans, Schatten noted. Dogs have long been
    used to test new drugs by pharmaceutical outfits like [19]Merck,
    [20]Amgen and [21]Pfizer. The industry's familiarity with dogs as
    research animals make them especially valuable for studies on
    embryonic stem cells. In particular, it may be possible to extract the
    potent stem cells from cloned dog embryos and transform them into the
    multiple cell types needed to create replacement tissues. After such
    techniques are perfected in dogs, it might be possible to apply them
    with little change to developing new tissues for human patients.

    The ability to clone dogs also opens the door for new kinds of studies
    on their genes; dogs' metabolic resemblance to humans should make such
    knowledge highly valuable to medical researchers. For instance,
    scientists might disable a particular gene in a cloned dog embryo and
    then observe the effects of the change on fetal development and on
    postnatal functioning in order to determine what the gene does.
    Similar DNA tweaking might produce cloned dogs that are genetically
    predisposed to illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or Alzheimers
    disease. That would give researchers insight into how such scourges
    unfold, as well as new avenues to test experimental therapies for

    Cloning dogs with altered genes will also help researchers elucidate
    the genetic underpinnings of the species incredible diversity,
    answering questions such as why poodles are smarter than bulldogs, and
    why Chihuahuas live much longer on average than Irish Wolfhounds. Such
    knowledge would doubtless yield profound insights on our own species,
    given that dogs, like us, are semi-educable, highly social animals
    that live a long time compared with most animals.

    But the Koreans work isnt likely to enable the commercial cloning of
    adored Fidos and Fifis anytime soon. Dog-cloning still requires
    world-class craftsmanship that isnt yet available to pet owners.
    Genetic Savings, however, is developing a technology called chromatin
    transfer that promises to make it easier. The firms success remains to
    be seen. But its feline feats give hope--as that great naturalist
    Hamlet said, "The cat will mew, and dog will have his day."

    Next: [22]Slideshow: A Noahs Ark of Cloned Animals

    ·[24]The Dogged Scientist, the Old Lab Vial, and the Quest to Stop
    ·[25]Why We're Losing the War on Cancer--and How to Win It
    ·[26]The Quest for Custom Cures
    ·[27]Stem Cells to Fix the Heart
    ·[28]Can China Overtake the U.S. in Science?
    · [30]First Cloned Dog Has Its Day
    · [31]A Noahs Ark of Cloned Animals
    · [32]Novartis, Schering Suffer Cancer Drug Setback

      · [34]The Dogged Scientist, the Old Lab Vial, and the Quest to Stop
    · [35]Why We're Losing the War on Cancer--and How to Win It
    · [36]The Quest for Custom Cures
    · [37]Stem Cells to Fix the Heart
    · [38]Can China Overtake the U.S. in Science?


   18. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/slideshow/0,,1089559,00.html
   19. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fortune500/snapshot/0,14923,C858,00.html
   20. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fortune500/snapshot/0,14923,C100,00.html
   21. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fortune500/snapshot/0,14923,C1042,00.html
   22. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/photoessay/0,18467,1089559,00.html
   23. http://subs.timeinc.net/CampaignHandler/foab?source_id=26
   25. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,598425,00.html
   27. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,782027,00.html
   28. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,698529,00.html
   29. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology
   33. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/photoessay/0,18467,1089559,00.html
   35. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,598425,00.html
   37. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,782027,00.html
   38. http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,698529,00.html

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