Eating cloned products not harmful to body, professors say

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By Jason B. Hogan

Biology professors at this college say that consuming beef or swine of the cloned variety should have no effect on a person.

Dr. Teanna Staggs, biological sciences chair, said, “They are doing animal husbandry. The only difference is they (animals) don’t live as long.”

According to the November issue of Wired magazine, cloned meat products are already being consumed at local supermarkets.

Ten years ago, there was a shared technique of cultivating cattle herds and sows through splicing DNA of favorable livestock to produce a better quality of calf or pig. Now scientists can create animals through cloning techniques.

The process of reproductive cloning is where the deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, information from an adult is placed in a nucleus that has been electrically charged to stimulate cell division and placed into a female that develops it until birth.

Agricultural industry leaders believe the food production market is primed and ready for a change in its standard form of beef and swine to the cloned variety.

In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences released a statement saying cloned meat was safe to eat.

In the feature “The Other, Other White Meat,” published by Wired, farm-tech companies are quoted saying after the academy published its approval, some of their products were pushed out to meatpacking plants and shifted into America’s food chain.

Biology Professor Russell Garcia related cloning to all of the genetically altered food products people already consume.

“Genetically altered food is used to produce more food,” he said. “It is digested down to the molecular level. The body doesn’t recognize it as anything different.”

The Food and Drug Administration has pushed back deadlines for its final decision on cloned meat being allowed legally in the open market.

According to Wired, the FDA went on record in December 2006 announcing cloned animals are “as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals” but since then has told agencies to keep their cloned meat out of the market.

Nutrition Professor Ellen Brennan believes from a standpoint of food, it should be perfectly fine.

“The animal has the identical medical make-up as the original,” sort of like an asexual creation, she said. “I don’t know if it is practical or not (based on cost). But, from a standpoint of nutrition, the next animal is going to be the same as the parent.”

Staggs believes it highly unlikely that any negative effects would occur through the consumption of cloned meat.

“They (reseachers) are not mixing DNA in any unnatural way,” Staggs said. “It’s just the fear and all the hype. The standard person on the street doesn’t understand what cloning is. And from a political standpoint, neither do politicians.”


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