Tony from the Starshipsofa podcast writes, "This week I talk (MP3) to freelance science journalist Mark Zastrow about his visit to a controversial Korean lab, led by Woosuk Hwang who is cloning puppy dogs." Read the rest
A booming biotech business in South Korea has new customers in America, because everyone wants to clone their dog. Read the rest
Back in 2011, I posted that one of John Lennon's teeth was up for auction. Canadian dentist Michael Zuk bought the molar for approximately $34,000 and says he would eventually like to use it to clone Lennon and raise him as his own son.
"He would still be his exact duplicate but you know, hopefully keep him away from drugs and cigarettes, that kind of thing," Zuk said.
Zuk has all kinds of other plans involving the tooth, including a DNA pendant, fine art photos, a documentary film, charity fundraising... It goes on and on over at JohnLennonTooth.com. (NME) Read the rest
The American Quarter Horse Association has been ordered to accept cloned horses into its registry by a jury in the courtoom of U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson. They were sued by a pair of Texas breeders, who said the organization's practice of excluding cloned horses was monopolistic. The judge did rule on awarding costs to the breeders, who spent some $900,000 on the case. Read the rest
The Nobel Prizes in science will be announced — one prize per day — between now and Wednesday. Today, the winners of the prize for physiology or medicine were announced. John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka will share the award for work related to cloning and our ability to manipulate the functioning of stem cells.
What's interesting here is that the research these two men are winning the Nobel for happened nearly a generation apart. Gurdon's work was crucial to the development of cloning. You'll recall that some embryonic stem cells can grow up to be anything, any part of animal's living tissue. Differentiated stem cells, in contrast, are destined for a specific job — for instance, they could grow into skin cells, or nerve cells, but not both. In 1952, other scientists had concluded that you could take genetic material from a very early frog embryo, inject it into the egg cell of another frog, and get that to grow into a living animal — a clone. But those researchers thought this process would only work up to a point. They didn't think you could clone an adult, or even an older fetus. Gurdon proved them wrong. In a series of experiments published between 1958, 1962, 1966, he worked with older and older donor cells, and produced more developed clones — eventually growing fully adult, fertile frogs from cells taken from the intestines of tadpoles.
Yamanaka, meanwhile, did his research in the early part of the 21st century, developing the methods that allow us to trick grown-up, set-in-their-ways cells into behaving more like embryonic stem cells. Read the rest
Peng Peng (below), a cloned sheep, is seen on a video display at the Beijing Genomics Institute in Shenzhen, southern China April 23, 2012. Chinese scientists have cloned a genetically modified sheep containing a "good" type of fat found naturally in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. "Peng Peng", which has a roundworm fat gene, weighed in at 5.74 kg when it was born on March 26 in a laboratory in China's far western region of Xinjiang. Mmmm, delicious roundworm genes.
(Picture taken April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu) Read the rest