BIO Statement: FDA Risk Assessment Finds Food Products from Cloned Animals Safe
WASHINGTON (October 31, 2003) – Lisa Dry, communications director of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to a risk assessment provided today by the Food and Drug Administration regarding food products of biotechnology.
"BIO supports the FDA scientific risk assessment which concludes that eating foods from animals which have been cloned for better health are safe for human consumption. This is consistent with last year's National Academy of Sciences report on animal-based biotechnology.
"Using the tools of biotechnology to produce more desirable and healthier farm animals is not a new practice. For decades livestock producers have used genetic twins to improve the health and efficiency of animals to provide beneficially healthy and nutritious meat and milk.
"Cloning can help livestock producers deliver what consumers want: nutritious, wholesome food products provided to them in a repeatable and reliable manner, and at an affordable price.
"We look forward to an expeditious decision from FDA that allows livestock producers and biotechnology companies to begin marketing their products."
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information on BIO, visit our website at www.bio.org
Note to editors: http://www.bio.org/animals/cloned/ A collection of scientific material on cloned animals
Definitions & Key Facts
Animals which have been successfully cloned: Sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, mice, rabbits, horses, rats.
Clone. A term that is applied to genes, cells or entire organisms that are derived from – and are genetically identical to – a single common ancestor gene, cell or organism respectively. Cloning of genes and cells to create many copies in the laboratory is a common procedure essential for biomedical research. Note that several processes commonly described as cell "cloning" give rise to cells that are almost but not completely genetically identical to the ancestor cell. Cloning of organisms of embryonic cells occurs naturally in nature (e.g., identical twins).
Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The transfer of a nucleus from a fully differentiated cell into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. This technique was used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996.
Difference between cloned and transgenic animals.
Cloning is asexual production – producing offspring that are genetically identical to the single parent organism, whereas transgenic technology introduces genetic material from one organism into another.
Earliest form of animal cloning began in 1978 with the splitting of an already formed embryo. SCNT overcomes limits of earlier techniques and allows breeders to copy an adult animal whose traits are well known. It is conceivable to produce thousands of clones from a single animal.
First successful adult or SCNT clone was Dolly, the sheep. Although researchers had been working on cloning for more than 20 years this brought it to the forefront of public attention.