Cloning is an area of science that has received a lot of criticism and harassment from certain religious sects. The act of “playing god” does not sit well with some, and many have been outspoken about this fact. Either way, the science itself has continued to progress with breakthroughs made each year. Recently, the most significant development came in the form of three adorable puppies.
The fact that each of the three puppies shares the same nuclear DNA is not significant in itself; what does make them unique is the fact that the cells originated in a dog that was also a clone, essentially making the puppies second-generation clones. The cloned cell donor was an Afghan hound born in 2005 called Snuppy whose name is an acronym for the Seoul National University. The re-cloned puppies, which are just over a year old, were developed from stem cells that were harvested back in 2010.
The science of cloning dates back to 1952 when scientists first removed the nucleus from a somatic cell in a tadpole and transferred it into a frog egg to replace the original nucleus. Somatic cells are any cells from the body other than eggs or sperm. From these humble beginnings, scientists were able to work their way up to mammals, finding success in Dolly the sheep in 1996. Since then, there has been success with cloned pigs, cats, rabbits, cattle, goats and mice. However, dogs represented a new challenge, just like many online real money pokies would offer those who had never spun the reels before!
From Snuppy To Puppies
According to the study, female dogs only come onto heat once a year and the ovulated eggs cannot be fertilised straight away. The eggs have to mature in the oviduct on their way to the uterus, which makes the process of harvesting them a logistical nightmare. The first canine success came with Snuppy who was cloned from an ear cell of an Afghan hound called Tai. The 12-year-old male dog was diagnosed with cancer and euthanized, never knowing just how much his legacy lives on.
As for Snuppy, he lived a full 10 years before dying of cancer as well. Snuppy’s age dispelled the myth that cloned animal’s live significantly shorter lives. It has long been thought that cloning increases the risk of disease and reduces the lifespan on the animal due to the fact that Dolly the Sheep died at age 6 while her breed usually lives to around 11 or 12 years. It seems that healthy living is as important for clones as it is for us, but if genes are predisposed to illness, it may affect life span.
The fact that Snuppy live to a ripe old age, led scientists to re-clone their original clone, implanting 94 embryos with Snuppy cells into seven female dogs. Four of the 94 embryos grew to term and resulted in normal births. One of the four puppies died a few days later though. The three surviving puppies are healthy and at over one year old, show no signs are accelerated ageing or prone to disease at previously thought. Speaking to the press, the study Authors said that with data from Tai and Snuppy, they can monitor the long-term health and aging processes in the second-generation clones.
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