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The cloned food furore has been a timely reminder of how, even when we recognise a big idea, no one can quite predict its consequences. It is 13 years since the breakthrough that made it possible to clone adult animals was announced by a team at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Called nuclear transfer, it offered a way to wind back cellular time. The team used it to take the mammary cell of a sheep and turn it into an embryo, which then grew into a clone of the sheep. The clone was called Dolly.

Headlines reflected the shockwaves her birth sent out: they raised ''dreaded possibilities'' such as ''the abolition of man''.

One writer described how Dolly ''looks at you with those intense red eyes - eyes full of hate''.

But rather than a red-eyed menace, the Edinburgh-based Dolly is an affable, plump sheep. And the scientist who led the cloning effort, Sir Ian Wilmut, is no Dr Frankenstein, but an ordinary bloke with a beard.

Little has changed since then. Even though there are plenty of clones...