A California woman has asked a Korean company to clone her dead pet, according to an article in the Guardian .
The scientist leading the cloning team, Lee Byeong-chun, formerly worked with disgraced Korean scientist Woo-suk Hwang to clone the first dog. While Hwang’s work cloning human embryonic stem cells was found to be fraudulent, independent analysis found that the dog was indeed a clone.
Snuppy, the first cloned dog, was born in 2005 after over 1,000 cloned embryos were placed in 123 carrier females to produce two live pups, one of which died soon after birth.
In 2006, the team announced that 167 cloned embryos transferred to 12 carriers produced 3 live pups, all of which were delivered by Caesarian section. The nuclear DNA came from the same female Afghan hound. The accomplishment used eggs collected from 23 female dogs.
Earlier this year, the same team reported that it had cloned a 14-year-old toy poodle from an aged toy poodle, but using egg donors and surrogate mothers from larger dogs. Three-hundred fifty eight “activated couplets” were implanted into 20 recipient dogs; 2 got pregnant, and one pup was born via Caesarean section. (Activated couplets are apparently enucleated eggs fused with donor cells and then stimulated to divide.) Previously, the team had cloned wolves.
The woman who ordered the clone apparently preserved the tissue herself after her pet had died. A company spokeswoman estimated the likelihood of success as around 25%.
Simply getting to a live birth may not mean a happy animal. Mouse clones often have respiratory problems when born alive. The first cloned guar died shortly after its birth because of respiratory problems.
Company executives told Reuters that the company could clone 30 pets a year, and the Korean Customs Service is looking into cloning drug-sniffing dogs.