Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 5 News List

South Korean scientists now clone poodle


South Korean scientists who created the world's first cloned dog, an Afghan hound, have now cloned a poodle, a news report said yesterday.

The Korea Times quoted a source as saying that a team led by Professor Lee Byung-chun cloned a poodle bitch midway through last year at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Seoul National University (SNU).

The team had previously cloned one male and three female Afghan hounds.

"The poodle puppy is the world's fifth dog clone and the first other than Afghan hounds. This marks another breakthrough in animal cloning," said the source.

Researchers at Seoul National University declined to comment on the report.

Science and Technology Minister Kim Woo-sik said on Monday that the SNU team had cloned other animals in addition to the Afghan hounds and wolves.

"The university asked me not to disclose some other cloning feats, which they said are possible only in Korea," the minister told journalists. He did not elaborate.

Lee's team said in July last year that they had succeeded in cloning two females of an endangered species of wolf and had sent a research paper to scientific journals.

But the feat was largely dismissed and the paper was rejected because Lee had worked with disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk.

The SNU team created the world's first cloned dog, Snuppy, in early 2005 under the stewardship of Hwang, who also claimed to have cloned patient-specific stem cells.

After much of Hwang's research work was proved early last year to be bogus, all of the team's work came under suspicion. But several tests confirmed that the canine cloning was genuine.

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