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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.

Disgraced Scientist Clones Dogs, and Critics Question His Intentby Rob SteinNPRSeptember 30th, 2015South Korean company Sooam Biotech – started by “scientific pariah” Hwang Woo Suk – has cloned over 600 dogs for $100,000, but the process works only one-third of the time and is risky.
Gene-edited 'micropigs' to be sold as pets at Chinese instituteby David CyranoskiNature NewsSeptember 29th, 2015The pigs were originally engineered as models for human disease to test expensive drugs in smaller quantities, but the excitement for customizable pets may be serving as a distraction from synthetic biology's more pressing concerns and controversies.
Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberationby J. Benjamin HurlbutHastings Center ReportSeptember 28th, 2015What justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the parameters of public debate?
E.U. parliament votes to ban cloning of farm animalsby Gretchen VogelScienceSeptember 8th, 2015The ban does not cover cloning for research purposes, nor does it prevent efforts to clone endangered species.
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplantsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 12th, 2015A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
Reframing "De-extinction" by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Beth Shapiro is advocating for a new definition of "de-extinction" that stresses the ecological niche over genetic identity. She envisages using novel creatures to change entire ecologies.
DNA Editing in Mouse Embryos Prevents Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 23rd, 2015“It is a bit of a slippery slope — if you start allowing any editing tool, you open a Pandora’s box of the possibility to edit anything.”
The Next Manhattan Projectby Patrick TuckerThe AtlanticApril 7th, 2015Anticipating cutting-edge scientific research before it happens may be key to protecting against bioterrorism.
Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brainsby Elizabeth PennisiScienceFebruary 19th, 2015Researchers have increased the size of mouse brains by giving the rodents a piece of human DNA that controls gene activity.
Extinct Species Should Stay Extinctby Ben A. MinteerCenter for Humans and NatureDecember 1st, 2014How far should we go to bring back lost species?
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