Snuppy The Clone

Those damned Koreans are at it again;

Like Dolly and other predecessors, Snuppy was created using a method called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT.

Scientists transfer genetic material from the nucleus of a donor adult cell to an egg whose nucleus – with its genetic material – has been removed. The reconstructed egg holding the DNA from the donor cell is treated with chemicals or electric current to stimulate cell division.

Once the cloned embryo reaches a suitable stage, it is transferred to the uterus of a surrogate where it continues to develop until birth.

Dog eggs are problematic because they are released from the ovary earlier than in other mammals. This time, the researchers waited and collected more mature unfertilized eggs from the donors’ fallopian tubes.

They used DNA from skin cells taken from the ear of a 3-year-old male Afghan hound to replace the nucleus of the eggs. Of the three pregnancies that resulted, there was one miscarried fetus and one puppy that died of pneumonia 22 days after birth.


Schatten said the Afghan hound’s genetic profile is relatively pure and easy to distinguish compared to dogs with more muddled backgrounds. But dog experts said the researchers’ choice of breed choice was disquieting.

“The Afghan hound is not a particularly intelligent dog, but it is beautiful,” said psychologist Stanley Coren, author of the best-selling manual “The Intelligence of Dogs.” He ranked the Afghan hound last among 119 breeds in temperament and trainability.

“Many people who opt for the cloning technique are more interested in fashionable looks,” he said. “Whenever we breed dogs for looks and ignore behavior, we have suffered.”

(Dog breeder’s aside; Why does the reporter inject the meaningless prattle from faux-expert Stanley Coren (who is to the world of canine science what Oprah Winfrey is to the study of subatomic particles) into this story? His ignorance is underscored by the very quotes they provide.)

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, Uncategorized, ,
Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. Anderson says:

    Old hat. They cloned a Nissan years ago. A Hyundai, I think they called it.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    So what’s your breed?

  3. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘”Whenever we breed dogs for looks and ignore behavior, we have suffered.”‘

    Do you not agree with that?

  4. call says:

    Old hat. They cloned the world several decades
    ago. Japan, I think we called it.

  5. Kate says:

    ….”Whenever we breed dogs for looks and ignore behavior, we have suffered.”

    …Do you not agree with that?

    First, the statement has nothing to do with cloning. Nor does he provide any evidence that those who might clone would do so for looks, or even that, by stressing appearance, behavior is necessarily altered, outside of the fact that an Afghan was selected.

    Coren’s list of “intelligent” breeds is based on trainability, not intelligence.

    Afghans are a sighthound, an ancient breed developed for a specific purpose – to course game over rocky, inhospitable terrain. They were not expected to be micromanaged by their handlers, in the way that the “intelligent” and highly trainable border collie was, and any Afghan so inclined would be less likely to be successful in pursuit.

    Finally – there is nothing more “beautiful” about an Afghan than there is an English Bull Terrier. Dogs whose construction and carriage most closely approaches the breed’s “ideal” – the standard of perfection – are considered beautiful specimens. The suggestion that an Afghan would be more likely to be cloned than a Pointer, or a Border Collie, or a French Bulldog because it is seen as “glamourous” by laypersons is absurd.

    Outside of bereaved billionaires looking to resurrect a treasured pet (which would be as likely to be a mutt as any pure breed) – any dog that might be cloned for reasons of it’s looks is most likely to be a highly valuable sire that had become infertile through misfortune or age. And in that case, desirable behavior or “temperament” would be part of that package of valuable traits.

    All of which Stanley Coren would be aware of if he had even a passing familiarity with dogs and dog breeds.