WTAMU clones calf, and it's not the first time - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

WTAMU clones calf, and it's not the first time

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Amarillo, TX - Researchers at West Texas A&M University have successfully cloned a calf for the second time in less than a year.

The heifer was born Saturday (Nov. 3), and was conceived through a process called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT), in which genetic material is removed and replaced from an egg cell, which is then inserted into a surrogate mother.

The purpose of such cloning is to create new lines of livestock that are more disease-resistant and produce a higher yield of meat.

The WTAMU researchers behind the experiment say cloning could be greatly beneficial to producers in the area, and the agriculture industry in general.

Texas A&M has long been a world leader in cloning research, and has been responsible for several breakthroughs in the science.

Critics say cloning raises moral issues, arguing that the high rate of birth defects (Scottish scientists went through 277 failed conceptions before the birth of Dolly in 1996) constitutes animal cruelty.

And the Center for Food Safety (see associated link), a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, says meat from cloned animals may not be safe for human consumption.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale and consumption of cloned meat in 2008, and also denied a proposal to mandate the labeling of meat from cloned animals (see associated link).