Saturday, December 31, 2005

New data confirms Snuppy is a clone

from the Korea Times:

A Korean institute Wednesday, Dec. 27, said that its DNA tests proved Prof. Hwang Woo-suk at Seoul National University (SNU) had successfully cloned a dog.

HumanPass Wednesday confirmed fingerprinting traces of Snuppy, Hwang's canine clone, matched those of its somatic cell donor, an Afghan hound named Tai, while they demonstrated disparate mitochondrial genotypes. Snuppy was cast under suspicion following revelations that the Korean scientist had fabricated his stem cell research.

"This is an indisputable piece of evidence that Snuppy is a clone. I am sure of the results because I myself watched as Hwang's team extract blood samples from the two dogs," HumanPass chief executive Rhee Seung-jae said.

Rhee said that he started the tests this Monday at the request of Hwang and staged the same experiments three times to ensure the credibility of the result.

"When I informed Hwang of the result today (Wednesday), he said it is the natural outcome. He seemed to have confidence in the dog clone," Lee said.

Park Se-pill, head of Seoul-based fertility clinic Maria Biotech, said the tests can silence Hwang's critics who have suggested the dog might be a twin created from a split embryo rather than a clone.

"With this, Hwang demonstrated his team's technical prowess in cloning. It brightens the prospects that his team retains the source technologies for stem cell research," Park said.

After an investigative panel at SNU found last week that Hwang's team fabricated data for his purported exploit of making 11 tailor-made stem cells, his other works such as Snuppy were all cast under suspicion.

Prof. Kong Il-keun at Suncheon University who cloned six cats last summer concurs with Park but the embryologist expressed his regret since Hwang asked for the tests while the SNU team is reviewing the authenticity of Snuppy.


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