Gorner Peter, “Simplicity, efficiency of bull calf clones moves society closer to human cloning”
They’re called Tommy, Andy, Timothy and Anthony - the first initials spell TATA, for the genetic control region of their DNA - and they are rambunctious clones of a world-famous Japanese bull. But the simplicity, efficiency and elegance behind their creation moves society a giant step closer to human cloning, and it’s happening much faster than anyone predicted. The four bull calves, ranging in age from 7 to 9 months, unveiled last week by the University of Connecticut and the Kogashima Cattle Breeding Development Institute in Japan, indicate how biologists are overcoming technical difficulties that once seemed insurmountable.
“The results of the experiment say that age is not critical. If you extend it to humans, it may mean that a couple who can’t get pregnant by any other means has an option,” said Dr. Mario Capecchi, a genetics pioneer at the University of Utah who wrote a commentary about the experiment in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…
“It took the Scots 300 tries to clone Dollie the sheep. So that was 1 in 300; it wasn’t in the ballpark of being able think about human cloning. But the efficiency with these bull calves was 1 in 10, even though two of the calves died shortly after birth. It’s not perfect. What would we think about a procedure where the kids could die afterward?
“But in just a few years, the numbers have dropped from 1 in 300, to 1 in 10. If it gets to be 1 in 2, then what? As soon as the probability reaches the same level as normal conception, then from an ethical point of view you have to find another argument”….