A South Korean biotech company claimed Thursday to have cloned dogs using a stem cell technology for the first time in the world.
Seoul-based RNL Bio said it created two black puppies this week using stem cells from fat tissue of a female beagle, in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists who created the world's first cloned canine - Snuppy - in 2005.
US, Japanese and New Zealand scientists have already succeeded in cloning mice, pigs and deer using stem cells, but it was first time stem cells were used to clone dogs, according to the university team.
Stem cells are prized for their ability to grow into a variety of more specialized cells. In contrast, an ordinary skin cell was used to create Snuppy, a black Afghan hound.
RNL Bio head Ra Jeong-chan told reporters that his company plans to commercialize the technology, in which it lets clients store their dogs' stem cells, using them in efforts to cure their pets' diseases or clone them after they die.