The first cloned dog is healthy and seems happy to be cloned

South Korean scientists claimed Wednesday they were successful to cloneу a dog – the first dog ever cloned. Famous scientist Hwang Woo-suk showed his masterpiece on Wednesday to local and foreign reporters at the campus of the Seoul National University - a three-month-old frisky black-and-white cloned male Afghan hound named "Snuppy".

The famed international journal Nature published an article about Hwang's new research in its latest edition issued on Thursday. And Hwang asked reporters to embargo the report of Snuppy until early Thursday.

After Wednesday's press conference, Hwang's team let Snuppy, the donor dog and Snuppy's surrogate mother - a Labrador, to meet the reporters.

The puppy looked very alike the donor dog. Both have black, long and thick coat, both have relatively small heads contrast to their big body, Xinhua reports.

The nearly 40 centimeters tall Snuppy currently has a weight of11 kilograms, a normal level of its age. "DNA analysis of the puppy showed them to be genetically identical to the donor dog - an Afghan hound," said Hwang at the press conference.

Cloning experts were impressed that even one healthy dog was created. Even as teams around the world produced cloned mice, rabbits, pigs, cows, cats and one horse, the eccentricities of the canine reproductive system have made it notoriously difficult to add man's best friend to that list, Los Angeles Times informs.

Hwang's research teams again used the somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technology to clone an Afghan hound.

One year ago, Hwang stunned the world by announcing his team successfully extracting stem cell lines from cloned human embryos.

Scientists have been trying to clone dogs since shortly after the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first animal cloned from an adult, in 1996.

The technique involves harvesting unfertilized eggs from females, removing the genetic material and replacing it with DNA from a donor, usually taken from a skin cell. The manipulated embryo is then implanted into a surrogate mother.

Even as cloning became routine in many species, dogs remained elusive, Los Angeles Times informs.

A&M's efforts, launched in 1998, came as close as one pregnancy that went to term but resulted in a still-born dog. A&M subsequently refocused its cloning efforts on other animals, though it received a small grant to try dogs again. Kraemer said the South Korean team's success will likely encourage A&M to seek more such funding.

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