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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.



Extinct Species Should Stay Extinctby Ben A. MinteerCenter for Humans and NatureDecember 1st, 2014How far should we go to bring back lost species?
Massive Man Versus Mouse Genome Project Publishes Resultsby Katie HoweBioNewsNovember 24th, 2014A comprehensive international study has revealed striking similarities as well as some significant differences in the regulation of mouse and human genomes.
Pigs to Peopleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 24th, 2014Synthetic biology takes aim at xenotransplantation.
For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dogby Josh DeanBloomberg BusinessweekOctober 22nd, 2014Dr. Hwang Woo Suk, infamous for fabricating claims about cloning a human embryo, now uses somatic cell nuclear transfer to clone people's dogs.
Let's Play God (or not)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2014Reason magazine earns points for honesty about wanting to use gene drives to "play God" — and for editing skills.
Hwang Woo-suk Reaches the Silver Screenby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2014A new movie opening in Korea is explicitly about how the notorious cloning and stem-cell fraud was revealed, though the names of the principals have been changed.
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.
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