jueves, diciembre 28, 2006

Animales clonados

GM WATCH COMMENT: According to this Associated Press piece, the US government is expected to declare today that cloned animals are safe to go into the human food supply.

There has, of course, been no public debate about whether US citizens, let alone the recipients of US exports, wish to consume milk and meat from cloned animals.

And this isn't just an issue of democratic deficit.

A spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization is quoted in the article as saying, "We clone an animal because we want a genetic twin of that animal. It's not a genetically engineered animal; no genes have been changed or moved or deleted."

But we know clones are very far indeed from perfect copies and that all clones are, in one way or another, defective with multiple flaws embedded in their genomes. Rudolf Jaenisch, a geneticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates that something like 4-5% of the genes in a cloned animal's genome are expressed incorrectly.

And these genetic defects can have tangible results - some subtle and hard to reckon but others all too clear. Some clones have been born with incomplete body walls or with abnormalities in their hearts, kidneys or brain function, or have suffered problems like "adult clone sudden death syndrome" and premature ageing.

Quite apart from the uncertainties, and any health concerns, the defects of clones may pose for consumers, people might well wish to avoid the products of a process that is so disastrous for animal welfare. But, as with GM, they won't be given the choice - food from clones will not be labelled.

From rogue GMOs in your rice to pharmaceuticals in your corn flakes, to cloned beef in your burger, America's food chain is shaping up as the world's most exotic.

EXTRACT: "Consumers are going to be having a product that has potential safety issues and has a whole load of ethical issues tied to it, without any labeling," said Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety.

Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, said the FDA is ignoring research that shows cloning results in more deaths and deformed animals than other reproductive technologies.

The consumer federation will ask food companies and supermarkets to refuse to sell food from clones, she said.

"Meat and milk from cloned animals have no benefit for consumers, and consumers don't want them in their foods," Foreman said.
Announcement on cloned animals expected today
FDA set to OK food from cloned animals
By Libby Quaid
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 28, 2006


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