South Korean scientists, who created the world's first canine clone, have cloned another breed of dog - the Poodle famous for its ability in the water and bird hunting skills.
A source familiar with the cloning yesterday said scientists at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Seoul National University (SNU) cloned a female Poodle midway through last year.
The team, formerly led by the nation's disgraced stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk, had previously cloned four dogs, one male and three females, but they were all Afghan Hounds.
"The baby Poodle is the world's fifth dog clone and the first other than Afghan Hounds. This marks another breakthrough in animal cloning,'' said the source, who declined to be named.
The cloning seems to demonstrate the team's unparalleled technologies on dog cloning, something no other scientists have yet to succeed in,'' the source said.
He refused to specify further. His remarks came after Science and Technology Minister Kim Woo-sik said on Monday that the SNU team had achieved a third dog cloning success on top of Afghan Hounds and wolves.
After visiting their laboratory, Kim mentioned the third achievement without elaborating, leading to speculation as to what he was referring to.
"The university asked me not to disclose some other cloning feats, which they said are possible only in Korea," said Kim, who concurrently is deputy prime minister.
When contacted, SNU researchers refused to confirm the cloning of a Poodle. However, a senior official at the Ministry of Science and Technology partially admitted the probability.
"It was a small one different to Afghan Hounds," - said Lee Sang-mok, a ministry director general who accompanied Kim to the SNU laboratory on Monday. Asked whether or not it was a Poodle, he said "Actually, I am not sure about its breed."
The SNU team created the world's first canine dog, Snuppy, in early 2005 under the stewardship of Hwang, who fraudulently claimed to have established patient-specific stem cells.
After the stem cells proved to be hoaxes early last year, all of his work came under suspicion but several tests vindicated Snuppy, which was found to be the real deal.
In addition to Snuppy, the male Afghan Hound, the SNU team created three female Afghan Hound clones - Bona, Peace and Hope, last year after Hwang was dismissed.
Source: Bio-Bio Technology