Korea Clones Cow With
Eye Toward Mass Production
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean scientists have succeeded in cloning a cow and hope to use the technology to mass produce the animal, according to the science and technology ministry.
"Jean-ie," a calf cloned from genes taken from a 980-kg (2,205-lb) adult cow, was born last Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.
"In the near future, we hope to distribute such cloned embryos to local farms to produce more of the large cows for their meat," said Kim Ho-seung, assistant director of the ministry's research and development division.
The calf was named after a famous local poet, Hwang Jean-ie, by President Kim Dae-jung as both were deemed "ahead of their time," the statement said.
"In contrast with current in vitro fertilization methods, cloning reduces the chances that the newborn's genes will deviate from the original cow's genetic characteristics," Kim said.
The government-sponsored experiment, conducted by a Seoul National University research team and led by Professor Hwang Woo-sok, was the country's second successful cow-cloning cloning project.
In February, the team succeeded in giving birth to a calf called "Young-long," cloned for milking purposes, Professor Hwang said.
Hwang said the team used the same nuclear-transfer method as that used by Scotland's Roslin Institute to create Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned animal.
The technique involves fusing genetic material from a normal cell with an unfertilised embryo.
"We are also working on cloning methods for genetic conservation of endangered species such as tigers and some types of racehorses," Hwang said.
Late last year, another South Korean research team triggered an uproar among local civic groups and academic circles when it said it had cloned a human embryo for the first time.
The experiment was aborted at the stage at which a fertilised egg is normally implanted into a womb for artificial pregnancy. The researchers said they would not resume it until local legislators clarified the legal issues involved.