Cow clone may have over 100 descendants in Britain

Aug 05, 2010
File photo of six cows produced by US researchers through cloning. A cloned cow whose offspring's meat entered the British food chain may have more than 100 descendants in the country, records suggested Thursday, amid fears about their spread into the food system.

A cloned cow whose offspring's meat entered the British food chain may have more than 100 descendants in the country, records suggested Thursday, amid fears about their spread into the food system.

Three cattle born from the American clone had produced 97 , according to details on the website of Holstein UK, the body responsible for registering all pedigree cows and bulls on farms.

The news came after safety officials admitted Wednesday that meat from two of the cloned cow's other had entered the food chain in Britain.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that meat from two bulls, Parable and Dundee Paratrooper, "will have been eaten".

The news has fuelled debate in Britain about the ethics and safety of cloning, although experts insist food products from the offspring of cloned animals pose no health risk.

Under European law, foodstuffs produced from cloned animals must pass a safety evaluation and gain authorisation before they are marketed.

The FSA is responsible for authorising "novel foods" such as meat and other products from clones and their offspring and said it had neither granted any such authorisations nor been asked to do so.

Its investigations started earlier this week after a newspaper report that milk from the offspring of a cloned cow had gone on sale to the public.

But as it carried out this investigation, it discovered that meat from Dundee Paratrooper, which was slaughtered in July last year, had entered the .

Local council officials identified its owner as farmer Callum Innes of Auldearn in northern Scotland.

Hours later, it also confirmed that from Parable, which was slaughtered in May this year, was likely to have been eaten.

In the latest development Thursday, records on the Holstein UK website revealed that three cattle born from the US clone had produced 97 calves.

Smiddiehill Paratrooper had 38 offspring, Smiddiehill Perfect had 58, while Smiddiehill Dundee Paradise had one, according to details on the website.

Campaign groups for animal welfare and organic farming have voiced concern over the issue.

Compassion For World Farming highlighted risks to animal welfare posed by cloning, while the Soil Association voiced safety fears and said the use of clones could reduce genetic diversity within agriculture.

But the National Farmers' Union Scotland said there were "no risks" to human health posed by food products from the offspring of cloned animals.

Professor Hugh Pennington, a leading microbiologist at Aberdeen University, said that while the word cloning "has an H. G. Wells ring to it", the process was "perfectly safe".

"They are just the same as their parents from the genetic point of view so there's no problem there," he said.

Explore further: Researchers look at small RNA pathways in maize tassels

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Food agency probes cloned cow milk claim

Aug 02, 2010

Food safety officials in Britain are to investigate a claim that milk from the offspring of a cloned cow was on sale for public consumption, they said Monday.

Probing Question: Is cloned meat safe to eat?

Mar 20, 2008

Picture the perfect steak. The first bite melts in your mouth, tender and dripping with flavor. You can barely keep chewing as your mind goes slack with joy. Yes, you could spend the rest of your life eating this same steak, ...

EU committee rejects clone food plan

May 04, 2010

An EU parliamentary committee on Tuesday rejected a controversial proposal to allow food from cloned animals and their offspring onto the European market.

Recommended for you

Researchers look at small RNA pathways in maize tassels

Aug 22, 2014

Researchers at the University of Delaware and other institutions across the country have been awarded a four-year, $6.5 million National Science Foundation grant to analyze developmental events in maize anthers ...

Canola flowers faster with heat genes

Aug 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —A problem that has puzzled canola breeders for years has been solved by researchers from The University of Western Australia - and the results could provide a vital breakthrough in understanding ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

denschmitz
not rated yet Aug 05, 2010
Why is this even news? By now everyone should know what a clone is and that it's not some alien infection or cancer. Is this some strange fear of the unknown?
Djincs
not rated yet Aug 05, 2010
Yes exactly , for people who know a litlle bit of biology and stuff the fear from GMO is as funny too.