December 13, 2012

Cloning Dogs (Part 1)

Recently I have been spending some of my free time at an animal shelter that is nearby, and I am considering fostering or adopting a dog. I feel the need to take in a bigger dog here in Korea simply because these dogs have a more difficult time in finding their forever homes.

The reason for this is because many Korean people are scared of dogs, big or small. Even for the people who like dogs, many can’t house a large dog due to the size of their apartments or, in some cases, the regulations of their landlords. I also feel that I am qualified to take on these bigger dogs because I have raised Great Pyrenees, which my family trained to live with and protect different animals.

Due to certain circumstance, I have had to put my plans of taking in a dog on hold. However, the dog I was considering fostering is named Sand from the Asan Animal Shelter, also known as Jane’s World. I heard mixed discussion on what breed Sand is (not that it actually mattered to me), but some people said he was a Borzoi, while others stated he was probably an Afghan hound, and still another person believed he was a mix of the two. I wanted to beef up my knowledge base on these breeds, and I found some very interesting information along the way. Here is the story of how Google led me to another dog – a dog that changed the scientific world.

I was clicking through the links for both breeds when a particular headline caught my attention: “Afghan hound First Dog to be Cloned by Scientist”. I thought this would be interesting, and it turned out to be far more interesting than I thought it would actually be.

The first dog to be cloned was born right here in Seoul, South Korea, at the very prestigious Seoul National University (SNU). I assume most people have not heard of this university, but it is the hardest university to get into in South Korea. The competition to get into this school is very intense, and can even be brutal.

The cloned dog was given the name Snuppy, and he was born in 2005. The researchers combined the abbreviation for Seoul National University, SNU, with puppy, giving the cloned dog the name Snuppy. From the information I have been able to gather, Snuppy was created from the cells off of an Afghan hound’s ear. He is the only survivor of 1,095 embryos that were transplanted into 123 bitches (it’s the proper terminology, get over yourselves). Only three of these embryos resulted in pregnancies: one was a miscarriage, the other died two to three weeks after birth due to pneumonia, and then there is Snuppy who is the lone survivor.

Some people might say he is one of 1,095, but that is according to this particular trial. In this case, that means that the success rate was less than two-tenths of a percent. Additionally, every trial prior to this was a complete failure. According to the research I have been reading, dog embryos are very difficult to clone. The eggs must be harvested in a short three week window that happens only once every year. All in all, they claimed Snuppy was the product of three years of hard work and research.

However, the honeymoon would not last for the man in charge, a man known as Hwang Woo-Suk.

The Weird: The ability to clone your long lost dog.

To meet Sand and other dogs in need please visit this website:

Image Credit: Okssi / Shutterstock

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