Look out roadrunner, coyotes can be cloned
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk unveiled his latest cloning achievement yesterday – eight cloned coyotes, created by inserting the nuclei of coyote skin cells into harvested dog eggs.
The coyotes were presented to a wild animal shelter at Pyeongtaek, 35 miles south of Seoul, in a ceremony chaired by Gyeonggi province governor Kim Moon-Soo, Yahoo News reports.
The project was sponsored by the provincial government.
Hwang, whose feats and frauds are recounted in my book, “Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Man’s Best Friend,” is a former Seoul National University scientist who was fired when some of his research into creating human stem cells from a cloned embryo was found to be faked.
He was also head of the SNU research team that produced Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2005.
I met Hwang in 2009, but wasn’t allowed to interview him, when I visited his private laboratory outside of Seoul. That’s where I took the photo of him above, after being invited to watch a dog cloning procedure.
By then, Hwang had left SNU, started his own lab and was cloning dogs for an American company that had auctioned off dog clonings to pet owners online.
The American company later went out of business, citing, among other things, animal welfare concerns and the relatively small market for dog cloning — it at the time costing $150,00 or so.
In addition to Hwang’s lab, another Korean company, RNL Bio, continues to clone dogs for pet owners, government agencies, and for medical use.
Hwang enjoyed international fame for a few years after successfully cloning the world’s first dog and for his research into human stem cells.
But his reputation was tarnished in 2005 when allegations surfaced that he had violated medical ethics by using human eggs from his own researchers. He was also found to have embezzled funds and faked some of his findings.
Despite that, he still had enough support to establish his own lab, in the mountains outside Seoul, where, while banned from further research invovling cloning human embryos, he was permitted to continue his research into canine cloning
In 2009 he received a two-year suspended sentence for embezzling research funds and ethical lapses in obtaining human eggs. Last December an appeals court reduced the penalty to an 18-month suspended sentence.
To clone a coyote, Hwang took cells from the skin of a coyote, and transplanted their nuclei into enucleated dog eggs. An electric jolt was applied to lead the cells to begin dividing, after which the eggs were implanted into surrogate mother dogs.
The first coyote clone was born on June 17.
The Gyeonggi governor praised Hwang and said further cloning projects were in the works: “The cloning of an African wild dog is under way, and we will attempt to clone a mammoth in the future,” he said.
(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cells, cloned, clones, cloning, coyote, coyotes, dog, dog inc., dogs, fraud, gyeonggi, human embryos, hwang woo suk, mammoth, pets, province, research, science, seoul national university, snuppy, south korea, stem cells