SEOUL (AFP) — Snuppy, the first cloned dog, has become a father after the world's first successful breeding involving only cloned canines, South Korean researchers said Thursday.
The Afghan hound impregnated two cloned bitches of the same breed through artificial insemination, a Seoul National University (SNU) research team said in a statement.
"This is the first time in the world that puppies have been born from cloned parents," team leader Lee Byung-Chun told AFP.
One of the 10 puppies which were born between May 14 and 18 died but nine others are healthy, he said.
"This shows the reproductive ability of a cloned dog," Lee said.
Lee's team, which says it also produced the world's first cloned wolves, plans to carry out a similar breeding experiment with them.
The breeding of cloned dogs "opens the way for cloning sniffer dogs and seeing-eye guide dogs, which usually have to be sterilised for training and lose the ability to reproduce," Lee said.
Snuppy was created under the stewardship of now-disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk. However, his team's work in creating Snuppy (Seoul National University puppy) has been verified by SNU and other authorities.
Hwang was hailed as a national hero until a university inquiry ruled that some of his work on cloning embryonic human stem cells was fake.
He is now on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges.
Lee has led his own research team. It earlier announced it had successfully cloned dogs capable of sniffing out human cancers by using tissue from a retriever in Japan.
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