Animal Biotechnologies

A range of methods are being used to create genetically modified and cloned animals for research and livestock purposes, and cross-species chimeras for research or to create organs for medical transplants.

Genetically modified animals are created by altering the genes of animal gametes or early embryos, and using those reproductive cells to impregnate an animal. Cloned animals are typically produced with a procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, which involves transferring the nucleus of a body cell from the animal to be “copied” into an egg cell that has had its own nucleus removed. The resulting embryo-like construct can then be triggered to begin developing, and used to initiate a pregnancy. Chimeras are created by combining genetic material from different species, sometimes including humans, into a single embryo.

Many applications of animal biotechnologies are controversial for environmental, health, animal welfare, and social reasons. For example, only a small percentage of cloning attempts produce live offspring and many animal clones are unhealthy; some leading scientists believe that none are “normal.” Human-animal chimeras raise safety concerns about whether new diseases could be transmitted to humans, legal issues about whether such creatures can be patented and owned, and the troubling possibility that they could display human-like behavioral characteristics.


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The home page of the Minnesota biotech company Recombinetics shouts “The Gene Editing Revolution Is Here.” 

Or it would be, if only those pesky regulators would get out of the way.

The company is using gene editing, a new kind of precise...

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Britons are broadly in favour of rewriting the genetic code of human embryos to prevent children from inheriting devastating diseases...

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Why, people want to know, did Barbra Streisand decide to clone Samantha, her coton de tulear? What would compel someone...

A purple gloved hand holds two mice.

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Close up photo of a yellow winged moth against a white background.

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Black and white photo, in bug's eye view, looking up at a person balancing on a tightrope.

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Lab entrace to GenSpace for DIY biohackers in New York. The entrance has glass windows covered with stickers and a sign that restricts food and drinks. Behind the entrance lies lab equipment,

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Bird's eye view of a cutting board, displaying vegetables and an uncooked salmon. A bowl of peppercorns are plated to its side.

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Five soldiers are dressed in protective gear, seeming to scout the area of land. The air appears thick and musty.

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A male figure places his hands on a see-through digital screen. In the background are DNA strands and highlighted bones in the body.

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