Re: Cloning Improvements

Hal Finney (
Fri, 8 Aug 1997 10:27:15 -0700

John Clark writes:
> Cows have a long gestation period, 10 months, but the Aug 8 New York Times
> says 10 cows cloned from adult cows are on the verge of being born. The
> Holstein cows were made by an American company in Wisconsin, ABS Global Inc.
> Although no animal has been born yet it could just be a matter of days,
> everybody seems healthy and apparently in cattle if you don't have a
> miscarriage in the first 90 days the calf will probably be OK.

It will be interesting to see how this comes out, but I thought the
announcement was premature. Most of the media carried this as though
cloning had occured. What they actually showed was a cow cloned from
fetal cells, not from adult cells. As I understand it, making "artificial
twins" has been possible for years by splitting embryos. This is a
technical advance but the implications are not that different from what
was already possible.

Once the cows from the adult cells are born, they'll have to be checked to
make sure they are in fact clones (nothing went wrong during the nuclear
transfer, etc.). So there is more work to be done before the claims of
"breakthrough" are justified. All the hype has made me a bit suspicious.