First dog cloning reported
July 2, 2005
Courtesy Queen's University
and World Science staff
Dogs have finally been added to the pantheon of animals that have been cloned by somatic-cell nuclear transfer, the method that produced Dolly the sheep.
Previous attempts to produce a cloned dog have failed owing to the difficulty of producing mature, unfertilized canine eggs in a test tube. In a Brief Communication in this week's Nature, scientists led by Woo Suk Hwang report the successful creation of two cloned Afghan hounds, although one died of pneumonia after just 22 days.
Dog eggs are difficult to work with because they are released from the ovary earlier than in other mammal species, the researchers explained. To produce the clones, the authors collected mature eggs from a dog's oviduct. They removed the genetic material and replaced it with a cell nucleus from the ear skin of the donor Afghan hound.
The researchers said they hope that cloning could be used to explore the genetic differences between various breeds of dog, and the effects of breeding between different types. However, the technique is still very inefficient - the two puppies were the result of 123 embryo transfers, leading to just three pregnancies, one of which miscarried.*
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