aniclon - Animal cloning can help deliver environmental...

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Animal cloning can help deliver environmental benefits in developing nations, says Professor Calestous Juma. In this week's Green Room, he argues that biotechnology could ensure the survival of rare cattle breeds that are well suited to cope with harsh conditions. After five years of study, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that food from cloned animals is safe to eat. Some consumer organisations, however, remain uneasy about the decision and are calling for an examination of the ethical aspects of cloning. While their concerns are understandable, they fail to take into account the potential environmental benefits of cloning, especially for developing countries. For example, anticipated impacts of climate change are likely to have far-reaching implications for the livestock industries of poor nations, especially those in Africa. Adapting to such disruptions will require additional investments in technological innovation, including animal cloning for food and conservation. Africa's farming systems are already under stress. Cattle breeds resistant to diseases such as sleeping sickness are dwindling at an alarming rate as local farmers adopt larger zebu breeds to replace their hardier but smaller taurine relatives. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that nearly 1,500, or 30%, of livestock breeds are threatened with extinction, most of which are in developing countries. Less than 100 are currently being conserved. Ecological disruption is likely to accelerate such trends. Slowing the decline will require the use of reproductive techniques such as animal cloning for predictable livestock production, in
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aniclon - Animal cloning can help deliver environmental...

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