Scientists in Korea have announced that they have cloned a dog for the first time?an afghan puppy. It took a thousand tries for this to happen, so it will not become the normal way to get a new puppy. While dogs are strictly pets in the US, they are bred to eat in many Asian countries. While cloned meat is too expensive to produce at the moment, it may be the protein-rich food of the future. So far, studies show that it’s safe to eat.
Also, milk from cloned cattle appears to be safe for human consumption. Scientists in the US and Japan, where raising cattle the normal way has gotten very expensive, say that cloning could be used to increase food production, especially in developing countries. It?s already being planned as the way to produce protein for long space travel.
Researchers have found higher levels of fat in the meat from cloned cattle, probably because cloned meat doesn’t develop muscle tissue from grazing. Cloned meat would bypass the corn-fed fattening process, which irritates cow’s stomachs and makes them need to be fed antibiotics. This strengthens bacteria, causing it to become resistant to certain types of antibiotics, so they won’t work the next time we need to take them.
Antibiotic resistance in humans is still not fully understood. A few years ago, people living in the suburbs surrounding a turkey farm, where the birds were being fed antibiotics, were tested to see if they were resistant to the drugs being fed to the birds. Most of them were, despite the fact that few of them had ever visited the turkey farm or eaten one of the turkeys.
Animals rights activists are concerned about the proliferation of cloned meat. As with the dogs, most cloned animals do not make it to term before being born, and many of those that do are born deformed or prone to illness. Dolly the sheep, one of the first successful clones, was found to be the same age as her mother on the day she was born. She started her life with aging diseases like arthritis.
But if there’s a profit to be made from cloned meat, you’ll see it in your grocery store soon.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
Cloning humans is not a real possibility, because primates probably cannot be cloned.
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