A Korean scientific panel determined on Jan. 10 that Snuppy actually is the worlds first cloned dog, but debunked all other recent claims about cloning research by Professor Woo Suk Hwang.
The Afghan Hound puppy, celebrated with a November 2005 Time Magazine article that proclaimed Snuppy to be the Invention of the Year, is genetically identical to the original dog, Tie, the panel reported. Hwang and his research team announced their breakthrough in August 2005 in the journal Nature.
But the panel also determined that Hwang fabricated data to support his claim that he cloned human embryos and created 11 cloned stem-cell lines for human patients.
These individuals cannot be regarded to represent science in Korea, reported Chung Myung-hee, who headed the investigating committee for Seoul National University.
Doubts about the veracity of Hwangs work arose in November, after the scientist admitted lying about his research methods. Some of the human ova used for his stem-cell research were donated by junior researchers, and others were purchased. Both practices are frowned upon in the scientific community.
In December, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania pulled out of a partnership with Hwang, saying that some of the work may have been fabricated. That led the university to form its committee, and Hwang stepped down from his position after initial reports showed that some of his work was false.
Nature concluded that the cloned dog is real in its own investigation.
Posted: Jan. 11, 2006, 2 p.m. PST