Cloned meat off the table... for now

Food produced from cloned animals will not be commercially available for a long time.

by: AFP | 13 May 2008

"I don't believe (there will be) cloned food (from animals) in a sense that is realistic here in America or in Europe in our lifetime, simply because the cost of producing a clone directly for the food chain is over 10,000 dollars," said Patrick Cunningham, an animal genetics professor at the University of Dublin.

The US Food and Drug Administration and its European counterpart in January approved the sale of food from cloned animals and their offspring after years of research.

Mark Walton, the CEO of ViaGen, one of the animal cloning companies in the United States, explained: "cloning technology is in fact a breeding technology... the only one that enables a breeder to actually reproduce exactly an animal."

One serving of cloned... please.

While for now "there is no such thing as cloning food (from animals), of course if you are a vegetarian, potatoes, asparagus... the list is quite long of vegetable products that are cloned products."

Yet "in the animal world the average cost of a cloned bovine is 13,500 dollars. So if you think the steak is expensive today you can imagine the cost with a 13,000-dollar animal," he added.

As for the offspring of a cloned animal, research so far in the United States and Europe has shown it is hard to find a health reason for them not to be commercially available, Walton noted.

That could be a plus for the environment, with less water required for raising every herd animal.

"So cloning could have a direct benefit to the consumers," he argued.

Cloning could have great potential if teamed with genetic modification techniques which are fast evolving, Cunningham added.

Would you eat cloned meat?

- None


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