Quietly, Animal Cloning Speeds Onward

By Kris Axtman writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Quietly, Animal Cloning Speeds Onward

Kris Axtman writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor

They are Big Bertha and Tiny Tina, a couple of piglets.

They may look and act differently (hence, their names), but these oinkers are identical. They are the newest cloned animals from Texas A&M University, which - with their births - leads the academic pack in the number of species cloned. And the fact that animals with the exact same genes can be different sizes and have different character traits may be just the first of many things that scientists hope can be learned from these little pigs.

This latest cloning project - and the wealth of information scientists hope it will provide - is just one of the many such animal-cloning experiments under way. Even as the human-cloning debate has dominated headlines and congressional hearings, scientists have cloned everything from mice to lambs to bulls.

And it is in the pens of these cloned animals - rather than the theoretical realm - where both the advances and problems of cloning are being played out.

After the 1996 birth of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal, the technology has been galloping along. There are now cows and goats that produce more milk and tastier meat, bulls able to resist disease, and pigs that can act as organ donors.

And this is only the beginning, say cloning supporters. For instance, breeding disease-resistant cows could save people's lives in third-world countries. And by cloning endangered species, animals such as the Atwater prairie chicken and desert bighorn sheep could be saved from extinction.

"You could repopulate the world [with an endangered species] in a matter of a couple of years," says H. Richard Adams, dean of Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Cloning is not a trivial pursuit.... We're trying to improve life for people here on earth."

Dr. Adams is quick to defend his school's program and to dismiss cloning's sensational aspects.

The school has come under criticism for its "Missyplicity" project, in which the owners of a dog are spending $3.7 million to have the pet cloned.

In addition to such moral controversies, opponents say there are still too many physical problems associated with animal cloning, such as deformities and high death rates during gestation. A recent article published in the journal Science, for instance, noted that researchers have found that apparently normal cloned animals develop abnormalities later in life.

But so far, so good with the health of Second Chance, a 1,000- pound Brahma bull born in Texas in June of 1998. He is being carefully watched because his donor, Chance, at the age of 21, was the oldest animal ever cloned.

The owners, Ralph and Sandra Fisher, had a special attachment to Chance, a favorite with kids at rodeos and county fairs and who appeared in several movies.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Quietly, Animal Cloning Speeds Onward


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?