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From Snuppy to Ruppy, the Transgenic Dog

Identical Twin Dogs, 2005

Identical Twin Dogs, 2005

Long ago in 2005 scientists in South Korea were able to create Snuppy, an identical twin of an adult male Afghan hound. Snuppy was born to a surrogate mother, a Labrador retriever. (I discuss this in my book, After Photography, as one of the many changes which manifest themselves in the visible world but have more to do with genotype than phenotype. Photography, of course, focuses on phenotype.)

Now scientists there have cloned a beagle named Ruppy (several of them, in fact), the world’s first transgenic dog. Each of these dogs has a new gene implanted which makes them glow red under ultraviolet light. Ruppy is both dog and sea anemone.

The argument for the existence of Ruppy (short for Ruby Puppy) is that this would allow scientists to create various transgenic models of human disease using dogs.

The questions that it evokes are enormous: Is this a step forward or backward for animals, and for us? Will humans one day become transgenic?

Ruppy at Ten Days Old Under Ultraviolet Light, Photo by Byeong Chun Lee

Ruppy at ten days old under ultraviolet light, 2009, photo by Byeong Chun Lee

And, for the photographers among us, we can no longer be sure that a rose is a rose is a rose, especially when we can’t be sure that a dog is a dog. (Imagine the captioning problems.)

Somehow I do not feel that this is a happy day, either for dogs or for us.

Will anyone be discussing this in other than scientific terms?

I am off to pet our cat!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. genotype and phenotype - StartTags.com on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    [...] the genotype that are reflected in the phenotype, are traits that can be acted upon by natural …After Photography From Snuppy to Ruppy, the Transgenic Dog( I discuss this in my book, After Photography, as one of the many changes which manifest themselves [...]

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