Cloning And Transgenics

Domestic sheep, represented by the now-famous Dolly, were the first mammalian species to be cloned by the nuclear transfer of somatic cells of an adult donor animal. All the other farm animal species covered by this article have subsequently been cloned, with the most recent success being the cloning of one horse and three mules in 2003. Several companies in North America operate commercial cattle cloning programs, and hundreds of clones have been born. However, as of early 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not yet made a ruling regarding the safety of cloned animals for human consumption. As a consequence, commercial cloning of cattle has slowed considerably.

Animals carrying foreign genes, or transgenics, have been produced from cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. A number of commercial enterprises have produced hundreds to thousands of transgenic goats, sheep, and pigs. Goals for these transgenics include increased disease resistance, improved feed efficiency and growth characteristics, and modifications in milk composition. There are also large commercial programs to make genetically engineered farm animals that produce pharmaceutical products, and even industrial products, in their milk.

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