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About Animal Technologies


Many applications of animal cloning and genetic modification are controversial for environmental, health, animal welfare, and social reasons.

At least eighteen animal species have been cloned since 1996, when scientists produced Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal. Then and now, only a tiny percentage of cloning attempts produce live offspring. Many of these clones are unhealthy, and some leading scientists believe that none are "normal."

Nonetheless, animal cloning efforts continue. Some are justified as scientific experiments. Others are commercial ventures, either to produce pets for consumers or breeding animals for the livestock industry. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the inclusion of meat and milk from cloned animals (without labels) in the  food supply.

Like cloning, genetic modification of animals is remarkably inefficient. It is being pursued for several purposes. Genetically modified (or transgenic) animals are commonly used in research. Efforts are underway to produce transgenic pigs as a source of organ transplants, transgenic fish for food, and transgenic livestock that resist animal diseases. In a practice sometimes called pharming, several mammalian species (cattle, sheep, and goats) have been genetically engineered to produce commercially useful human proteins in their milk. Fish engineered to glow in the dark have been developed and marketed as pets. Proposals to clone extinct species, particularly mammoths and neanderthals, regularly appear in the news media.



On the Irreversibility of Gene Drivesby Noam PrywesThe ScientistSeptember 16th, 2014Should researchers genetically modify wild populations of mosquitoes to curb vector-borne diseases like malaria?
On the Horns of the GMO Dilemmaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewSeptember 2nd, 2014Can genome-editing technology revive the idea of genetically modified livestock?
‘Can you clone that?’ Putin has close encounter with mammoth Dima in Russia’s Far EastRussia TodaySeptember 1st, 2014Upon meeting a mammoth mummy in a museum in the Russian Far East, President Putin was assured that the museum scientists are closely collaborating with South Koreans on the possibility of cloning it.
Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic—And Scientists Hope to Bring Them Backby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicAugust 31st, 2014The 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, last of her kind, finds biologists dreaming of preventing or reversing extinctions.
Biologists Choose Sides In Safety Debate Over Lab-Made Pathogensby Nell GreenfieldBoyceNPRAugust 13th, 2014A smoldering debate about whether researchers should ever deliberately create superflu strains and other risky germs in the interest of science has flared once again.
Failures and Risks in Biosafety Regulationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014Accidents at CDC and elsewhere point up the difficulties in regulating potentially dangerous releases of genetically modified organisms, which scientists are, quite responsibly, discussing.
Proposed Gene Technology Could Alter Organisms in Wildby Carolyn Y. JohnsonBoston GlobeJuly 17th, 2014Scientists say that this use of the new gene-editing technology could lead to inadvertent species extinctions, new genes spreading through the environment in unexpected ways, and unforeseen ecological ripple effects.
Seralini Republished: Roundup-Ready GMO Maize Causes Serious Health Damageby Oliver TickellThe EcologistJune 25th, 2014A scientific study has been republished following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure.
Surprise: Stem Cells Help Mice with Multiple Sclerosis to Walkby Kirsten StewartThe Salt Lake TribuneMay 15th, 2014While attempting to better understand the common problem of stem cell rejection, a team of scientists in California may have found a new avenue for treating multiple sclerosis.
Free Dolly!by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2014The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that cloned animals cannot be patented.
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