Wednesday, August 03, 2005

First cloned dog

Today South Korean researchers have announced that they have successfully cloned a dog. What's the big deal you might say, we've cloned all kinds of animals from mice to horses. Apparently dogs are much harder to clone,
"Dogs have such an unusual reproductive biology, scientists say, that the methods that allowed them to clone sheep, mice, cows, goats, pigs, rabbits, cats, a mule, a horse and three rats, and to create cloned human embryos for stem cells, simply do not work with them." - NY Times
The ramifications of the research supposedly go beyond cloning pets, as the says that they will not. However, they spend $19 million dollars to research dog cloning so what do they plan to do with there latest 'product'?
"Dogs get many of the same diseases as people and have long been used to study human diseases." - NY Times
But one of the companies main goals is the ever so popular stem cell research.
"Eventually, the team hopes to make dog embryonic stem cells and test them as treatments in the animals." - NY Times
What I find most interesting about all of this is how LiveScience manages to spin this story. The article first points out that there are ethical concerns with cloning dogs. I agree, its always kind of scary when they clone an animals that are increasingly harder to clone. Eventually we will be cloning humans, and for what purpose I am not sure I want to know. But then the article takes a hard left.
"Yet given that President Bush is trying to block human stem cell research, the success raises the possibility that dogs will live longer while their owners die of diseases that stem cell research aims to cure, said the Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute, Bernard Siegel, who was not involved in the research." - LiveScience
"While the White House would prevent new lines of stem cells being used for research, scientists around the world are aggressively pursuing the work. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who had sided with Bush on the issue, last week jumped ship and backed House-passed legislation to expand federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research." - LiveScience
neither of these claims are true. What do you think about cloning? How far is too far?


Peaceful Selah said..., what's so incredible about this dog, that they needed to clone it? I mean, what are the "updates" they have given it? Maybe it's faster? Or smarter? Or has a longer life-span? Oh well, I guess time will tell! ~big grin~

Abby said...

It is almost scary what they are able to do. But there was one thing I was unsure of, I thought stem cell research was a good thing? Can't it be used to save people's lives? And isn't it only the embryonic stem cell research that is bad? Because the way I understood it, embryonic stem cells could only be gotten by killing babies, but adult stem cells were from already dead people or something like that. If you have a clearer understanding of this could you let me know?

Angsuman Chakraborty said...

Cloning is fine, even with humans. I think it is immensely stupid to try to halt the progress of science which promises to cure several hard diseases in the name of ethical concerns. After all who decides what is ethical? In US it is catholic christians headed by jr. bush. And I don't agree with their ethical concerns at all. It doesn't make sense on several counts. I extensively blog about these issues on my Stem Cell blog -

GodsMoon said...

Whoa looks like this is a popular topic! hmmm lets see here.

Selah, there is nothing particularly better about this dog than any other one, its just that its a clone.

Abby, you are mostly right but not entirely. Embryonic stem cells seem to show the most potential, not to say that other stem cells don't have potential as well. Using embryonic stem cells doesn't necessarily kill the embryo either. But the normal way to harvest the most stem cells does destroy the embryo. You should definitely read these two articles.

Angsuman Chakraborty, my, my, you bring up some good points. I will certainly have to read what you have to say on your blog. But what interests me most is your profound question: "After all who decides what is ethical?" That is an excellent question. I think I will make a post dedicated to it.