Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ABOUT US
China cloning pioneer offers vision of brave new world
By Rebecca DAVIS
Beijing (AFP) Dec 1, 2015


The Chinese scientist behind the world's biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans, he told AFP, and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction.

Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020.

But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun's ambitions.

In the factory pipeline are also thoroughbred racehorses, as well as pet and police dogs, specialised in searching and sniffing.

Boyalife is already working with its South Korean partner Sooam and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to improve primate cloning capacity to create better test animals for disease research.

And it is a short biological step from monkeys to humans -- potentially raising a host of moral and ethical controversies.

"The technology is already there," Xu said. "If this is allowed, I don't think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology."

The firm does not currently engage in human cloning activities, Xu said, adding that it has to be "self-restrained" because of possible adverse reaction.

But social values can change, he pointed out, citing changing views of homosexuality and suggesting that in time humans could have more choices about their own reproduction.

"Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad," he said.

"Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one," he went on. "You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice."

Xu, 44, went to university in Canada and the US, and has previously worked for US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and in drug development.

- Snuppy the cloned dog -

Presenting cloning as a safeguard of biodiversity, the Tianjin facility will house a gene bank capable of holding up to approximately five million cell samples frozen in liquid nitrogen -- a catalogue of the world's endangered species for future regeneration.

Boyalife's South Korean partner Sooam is already working on a project to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction by cloning cells preserved for thousands of years in the Siberian permafrost.

Sooam also serves a niche market recreating customers' dead pet dogs, reportedly for $100,000 a time.

Sooam founder Hwang Woo-Suk was a national hero with his own postage stamp before being embroiled in controversy a decade ago after his claims to be the first in the world to clone a human embryo were discredited.

Hwang, who created Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, in 2005, lost his university position, had two major papers retracted, and was accused of crimes ranging from violation of bioethics laws to embezzling research funds.

Earlier this year he was quoted in South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo newspaper saying that his firm was planning a cloning joint venture in China "because of South Korea's bioethics law that prohibits the use of human eggs".

"We have decided to locate the facilities in China in case we enter the phase of applying the technology to human bodies," he was quoted as saying.

- 'Weird experiments' -

For now, Xu seeks to become the world's first purveyor of "cloned" beef, breeding genetically identical super-cattle that he promises will taste like Kobe and allow butchers to "slaughter less and produce more" to meet the demands of China's booming middle class.

Cloning differs from genetic modification, but its application to animals would enable the firm to homogenise its output.

"Everything in the supermarket looks good -- it's almost all shiny, good-looking, and uniformly shaped. For animals, we weren't able to do that in the past. But with our cloning factory, we choose to do so now," Xu said.

"Remember, this is a food. We want it to be uniform, very consistent, very premium quality," he added.

There is controversy over whether cloned beef is safe for human consumption -- research by the US Food and Drug Adminstration says that it is, but the European parliament has backed a ban on cloned animals and products in the food chain.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has yet to review the issue.

Han Lanzhi, a GMO safety specialist at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said Boyalife's claims about the safety, scope and timeline of their operations were alarming -- and implausible.

"To get approval for the safety of cloned animals would be a very drawn-out process, so when I heard this news, I felt very surprised," she said.

"There must be strong regulation because as a company pursuing its own interests, they could very easily do other things in the future," she added.

Xu sought to be reassuring, telling AFP: "We want the public to see that cloning is really not that crazy, that scientists aren't weird, dressed in lab coats, hiding behind a sealed door doing weird experiments."

rld/slb/kb/jom

PFIZER

GMO INTERNET GROUP


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
ABOUT US
Clues emerge about the earliest known Americans
Nashville TN (SPX) Nov 25, 2015
Stone tools, cooked animal and plant remains and fire pits found at the Monte Verde site in southern Chile provide greater interdisciplinary evidence that the earliest known Americans - a nomadic people adapted to a cold, ice-age environment - were established deep in South America more than 15,000 years ago. The research, led by Tom Dillehay, Rebecca Webb Wilson University Distinguished Profess ... read more


ABOUT US
Russia causing 'environmental disaster' in Ukraine

Fukushima protective sea wall cracking

Climate change and conflict, a perfect storm

Brazil mining giant rejects UN anger over 'toxic' flood

ABOUT US
Plant defense as a biotech tool

Material universe yields surprising new particle

Inkjet hologram printing now possible

Chemical design made easier

ABOUT US
Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth

Senegalese villages swallowed by the sea

Fish use smart camouflage mechanism in open ocean waters

CO2 keeps even small fry invasive carp at bay

ABOUT US
Adapting to -70 degrees in Siberia: A tale of Yakutian horses

Very large volcanic eruptions could lead to ice sheet instability

Sea level rise from Antarctic collapse may be slower than suggested

Sea ice loss associated with increased summer land use by polar bears

ABOUT US
Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

Study suggests bees aren't the be all and end all for crop pollination

French chefs cook up a storm for climate

Climate change threatens Tunisia olive farming

ABOUT US
Nicaragua volcano belches ash, causes fears of eruption

Great Barrier Reef protecting against landslides, tsunamis

Hurricane Sandra surges to Category 4 in Pacific

Flooding brings Qatar to near standstill

ABOUT US
Mugabe 'overjoyed' to host rare VIP visitor in China's Xi

China's Xi heads to Zimbabwe ahead of Africa summit

'Lay down your weapons', pope tells warring sides in C Africa

Massive 'development corridors' in Africa could spell environmental disaster

ABOUT US
China cloning pioneer offers vision of brave new world

Fossilized Homo erectus skull found in China

Clues emerge about the earliest known Americans

Human brains evolved to be more responsive to environmental influences




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement