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Old August 16 2010, 04:11 PM   #1
farmkid
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What do you think about cloning?

No, no, I'm not talking about human cloning. Here's and article by the BBC that started me thinking about starting this thread. Here's the summary: Cows are being cloned from cells taken from the carcasses of dead animals in the US. The reason is that after slaughter, an animal may be found to have superior meat characteristics. Of course it can't be reproduced at that point because (A) it's dead, and (B) although the article doesn't point it out, it's usually a steer, meaning it's a male that has been castrated at birth, so it couldn't reproduce anyway. Anyway, those cells are used for cloning and the clones are then used for reproduction. The article goes on to say that in the US, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals, while in Europe, some lawmakers want to ban the practice. So, I'm wondering what you all think of this. What do you think of eating meat from cloned animals, or from the offspring of cloned animals? Do you think it's something to be worried about? When can we expect armies of cloned cows to overpower their human masters and take over the world?

Personally, I don't have a problem with it. Cloned animals sometimes have some differences from naturally produced animals, but those differences come from developmental problems, and don't effect the meat at all. Their offspring, however, are indistinguishable from other animals. I must disclose here that I work in a lab where we clone cows. In fact, I'm working with samples from Viagen (whose chief scientist used to work in my lab) and we collaborate with Brady Hicks, who was quoted in the article. I'm hardly an unbiased party here, so I'm curious what others have to say about it.
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Old August 16 2010, 04:13 PM   #2
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

I don't have a problem with cloning either. Why would it make any difference to me, the consumer? As long as it tastes good (which it will) and is safe to eat (which I'm also sure it will be), then chow down.
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Old August 16 2010, 04:59 PM   #3
Robert Maxwell
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

Yeah, I don't see the problem. Cloning will lead us to a future where all our meat is grown in vats and we no longer have to use the absurdly inefficient process of raising, feeding, and slaughtering livestock.
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Old August 16 2010, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Yeah, I don't see the problem. Cloning will lead us to a future where all our meat is grown in vats and we no longer have to use the absurdly inefficient process of raising, feeding, and slaughtering livestock.
Well, at present, that still belongs in the same universe as teleportation and warp drive. So far, we can only clone whole animals, not pulsating masses of cow or chicken muscle tissue.
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Old August 16 2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

scotpens wrote: View Post
pulsating masses of cow
Now there's a horror film for you.
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Old August 16 2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

Assuming it's reasonably safe and tastes good, I'm all for it.
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Old August 16 2010, 05:28 PM   #7
Robert Maxwell
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

scotpens wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Yeah, I don't see the problem. Cloning will lead us to a future where all our meat is grown in vats and we no longer have to use the absurdly inefficient process of raising, feeding, and slaughtering livestock.
Well, at present, that still belongs in the same universe as teleportation and warp drive. So far, we can only clone whole animals, not pulsating masses of cow or chicken muscle tissue.
I think "pulsating masses of cow tissue" are a lot closer than teleportation and warp drive. Lab-grown meat can already be done, it's just not commercially viable yet.
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Old August 16 2010, 07:35 PM   #8
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

^Agreed. I think "growing meat" is achievable in my lifetime. Warp drive, probably not, unless someone figures out some kind of shortcut that doesn't require turning the mass of Jupiter into pure energy. Teleportation...eh...that one has all of the complexity of cloning, building artificial lifeforms atom by atom, plus the mind bending physics of warp drive, with additional quirks thrown in at the quantum level.

If it's even possible, it will never be cost effective. Think about it, faster is always more expensive. You have to be a millionaire to be allowed the privilege of breaking the sound barrier. I can only imagine the cost in breaking the light barrier. Instant travel across the universe? Pfft. It could be invented tomorrow and I'd never get the privilege of seeing it used on someone else in person.
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Old August 16 2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

I'm cool with it as long as I get my own Natalie Portman.
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Old August 16 2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

JonathonWally wrote: View Post
I'm cool with it as long as I get my own Natalie Portman.
Only if she's naked and petrified.
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Old August 16 2010, 08:46 PM   #11
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

I'm strongly against cloning food because historically it has led to bland, flavorless crap with an extended shelf-life and no choices.

There are over 7,500 varieties of apple, but because of cloning all you can find in the store is red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, braeburn, gala, fuji, or cameo.

If the same happens to meat then all steaks will be the same - tasting like cardboard but able to survive three-months in your refrigerator. Once the nanny state FDA gets involved, limiting the amount of fat, cholesterol, and savory chemical compounds, you might as well eat a slab of processed ToFurkey.
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Old August 16 2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

gturner wrote: View Post
I'm strongly against cloning food because historically it has led to bland, flavorless crap with an extended shelf-life and no choices.

There are over 7,500 varieties of apple, but because of cloning all you can find in the store is red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, braeburn, gala, fuji, or cameo.

If the same happens to meat then all steaks will be the same - tasting like cardboard but able to survive three-months in your refrigerator. Once the nanny state FDA gets involved, limiting the amount of fat, cholesterol, and savory chemical compounds, you might as well eat a slab of processed ToFurkey.
None of that made any sense at all.
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Old August 16 2010, 08:56 PM   #13
farmkid
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

gturner wrote: View Post
I'm strongly against cloning food because historically it has led to bland, flavorless crap with an extended shelf-life and no choices.

There are over 7,500 varieties of apple, but because of cloning all you can find in the store is red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, braeburn, gala, fuji, or cameo.

If the same happens to meat then all steaks will be the same - tasting like cardboard but able to survive three-months in your refrigerator. Once the nanny state FDA gets involved, limiting the amount of fat, cholesterol, and savory chemical compounds, you might as well eat a slab of processed ToFurkey.
That's completely different. Many of the plants out there are clones because it's a very easy way to reproduce plants--you just take part of one plant and grow a new one from it. It's not exactly cloning, but you do end up with two plants that are genetically identical. That's more like twinning than anything else.

Animals are usually cloned by nuclear transfer. The DNA is removed from an egg, and replaced by the nucleus of a cell from the animal you want to clone. (There's a little more to it than that, but that's the basic idea.) The proteins in the egg then reprogram this new genetic material to a naive state and a new animal grows. It's a rather inefficient and expensive process. It's not something that would ever be used for routine reproduction, only to recover superior genetics (producing the best meat, not cardboard, for example) of animals that would be lost otherwise. I doubt you would ever eat meat from a clone, but instead be eating meat from the offspring of clones.
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Old August 16 2010, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
scotpens wrote: View Post
pulsating masses of cow
Now there's a horror film for you.
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Old August 16 2010, 09:52 PM   #15
farmkid
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Re: What do you think about cloning?

^okay, that's bizarre.
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