SEOUL: South Korean scientists, once led by disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, on Monday said they had created the world’s first cloned wolves, which were produced to help an endangered species.
A team at Seoul National University, which produced the world’s first cloned dog in 2005 — an Afghan hound named Snuppy — showed off the the two Korean wolves named Snuwolf and Snuwolffy that were born a year and a half ago.
It took the team a while to publish its findings likely because of extra scrutiny due to being implicated in fraud, a member said.
“Normally, scientific periodicals would not ask for mitochondrial DNA verification but we needed to produce it due to previous problems,” said Lee Byung-chun, a professor who heads the research team.
Lee said the quarterly periodical Cloning and Stem Cells will publish the team’s findings in its upcoming issue.
Lee said cloning the Korean wolf could help the species survive. Wolves have not been spotted in the wild in South Korea for about 20 years, Lee said, and the only ones that are known to exist in the South are in a small pack of about 10 at a nature park in Seoul.
Snuppy was dubbed one of the most amazing inventions of 2005 by Time magazine. Independent testing has concluded the dog was an actual clone.