Proponents of biotechnology say cloning and transgenesis--two new breeding technologies--can improve animal health and well-being, decrease negative impacts on the environment, and enhance safety and nutritional quality of food, thereby improving food security in nations around the world. But some consumers and consumer groups have had concerns that inclusion of such technologies in food production systems may not be in the consumer's best interest.
To provide consumers with scientific information so that they may be better able to weigh the risks of the new technologies in relation to the potential benefits they provide, CAST is releasing a new Issue Paper, Animal Productivity and Genetic Diversity: Cloned and Transgenic Animals. This paper reviews the complexities surrounding the issue of transgenic and cloned animals and presents the science behind the issues.
"Like any tools, cloning and transgenesis have their strengths and limitations," said Task Force Chair Robert Wall, Animal and Natural Resources Institute,
The 8-member international Task Force addresses topics including the cloning of farm animals for breeding and direct food consumption; disease resistance in transgenic animals; and the use of transgenics for improved food safety and quality, decreased environmental impact, and increased production efficiency.
The task force suggests that the government develop a regulatory process that addresses consumers' apprehension while offering realistic expectations of biotechnology. "Even the word 'cloning' can elicit emotional responses from people," said
Animal Productivity and Genetic Diversity: Cloned and Transgenic Animals is Part 8 of a 9-part CAST series titled "Animal Agriculture's Future through Biotechnology." The full text of the paper is available free of charge on the CAST website.