Meating Place.com: Biotechnology shakes up the industry (re: cloning animals)
- SPECIAL FEATURE from a meat industry e-magazine
Live from WWFE: Biotechnology shakes up the industry
by Deborah Silver on 10/27/2005 for Meatingplace.com CHICAGO Wednesday's educational program at the Worldwide Food Expo tackled the controversial issue of animal biotechnology, looking specifically at transgenics and cloning.
According to Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director of the University of California Systemwide Biotech Research and Education Program, transgenics is garnering major research attention these days. The procedure ultimately could lead to more efficient production of animal-derived foods, as well as transform animals into production farm factories for pharmaceutical proteins, such as collagen. "That's where the big money is," said McGloughlin.
McGloughlin believes that cloning has significant potential, including the ability to develop high-merit farm animals, duplicate valuable "pharm" animals, and create a homogeneous population of cells, tissues and even organs that can be transferred to organ-failure patients.
There is a downside, however. Cloning is very expensive, with only a 2 percent to 3 percent success rate at present. The risk of disease transfer exists, as does the inadvertent selection of undesirable characteristics. But according to McGloughlin, "most clones appear to be perfectly normal."
She also considers the food-safety concerns voiced by opponents of cloning to be unjustified. "There is no evidence that clones pose a safety concern," she said. McGloughlin believes that by the end of 2006, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates transgenic and cloned animals, will approve some meat from the offspring of cloned animals for sale in the marketplace. The cloned animals themselves, however, will not be sold as products. "The pricetag to develop a cloned animal is simply too high for it to become food," she said.
One audience member expressed concern over both transgenics and cloning. Dr. Temple Grandin, associate professor of livestock handling and behavior at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, noted that, despite the fact that FDA considers transgenic and cloned animals new forms of animal drugs (hence, FDA's jurisdiction over them), they are indeed still animals. "The physical and biological stress on animals has to be addressed, no matter how the animals came to be," said Grandin.
Ms. Paris Harvey email@example.com 925 788 8296 (PST)
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