Monday, October 6, 2014

Dolly, the first cloned sheep, and why we don't see her twins everywhere

July 5, 1996.  Scientists in Scotland announced the successful cloning of genetic material from a mammal, a domestic sheep.  She was genetically identical to the female sheep from which they took a tissue cell nucleus and caused it to grow into a live sheep.  She died seven years later.  Scientists have since cloned cows, horses pigs, mice. dogs and cats and they even cloned a racing camel.  Depending on your point of view, it's pretty exciting stuff, or some might call it interfering with the work of the creator.  Which in a way, it might be, as I have stated here before with respect to Genetically Modified foods; those scientists attempting to play god don't have the manual required to explain how to do it.  And are screwing it up big time.

A few pertinent points about cloning technology.  It doesn't work all that well.  In 2008 the FDA released a 968 page report in an attempt to alleviate any fears the public, well, anyone aware of the situation, might have had about consuming the meat, eggs, milk or whatever that comes from cloned animals.  It didn't really do so, there are more questions raised by the report than are answered.  The biggest question that I can think of is why are we still attempting this when it is such an obvious failure.  Well the FDA states that the science of cloning is inexact and that they even have a term for the errors that occur during the process "epigenitic dysregulation"  Which basically means that 90% of the cloned animals die or are born with abnormal or poorly developed lungs, hearts or other internal organs, and the big one, they have LOS  or what they have named Large Offspring Syndrome where the unborn grows so large it kills both itself and the host "mother".  The animals that survive birth often have circulatory system problems, failure to regulate their own body temperature and the common problem, failure to thrive.

The FDA has decreed that any such animal is okay to put into the food system for human consumption.  Well, that's only partially true.  The FDA stated in their report that they would ask that producers not use cloned animals for food and it was entirely voluntary as the FDA stated that "cloned animals were virtually identical to normal animals raised specifically for meat."  Except that elsewhere in the very same report they state that meat and milk differed and had "alterations in fatty acid composition and delta-9 desaturase {an enzyme that synthesizes fat} activity"  And again later "these changes imply that lipid metabolism may be altered"    Two companies, Cyagra and ViaGen already have cloned animals out in the dairy industry, and state that the animals are already at butchers for human consumption.  Their claim for the milk from cloned animals is perfectly safe even with this statement from ViaGen, "Milk from cows, sheep and goats are mixtures that are estimated to be composed of more than 100,000 molecules and that we will rely on federal nutrition labeling requirements to catch problems"

These are the same scientists that have defined the genetic code for humans, cows, sheep and goats and yet they can't analyze milk from genetically engineered animals to determine if it contains something that normal milk doesn't.  They also state that they will rely on federal slaughterhouse inspections to catch cloned animals should they be sent to slaughterhouses to be put into the food supply.  Because the FDA asks that rejection of cloned animals be voluntary.

Yikes!  I sort of thought that if you were raising a cloned animal, you would know it.  Perhaps they do.

Of course the theory behind cloning and genetically engineering animals is in itself flawed.  Big dreams about engineering cows that aren't susceptible to the man made prions causing mad cow disease (BSE) is noble, even if it's too little too late.  But scientists have lots of other concepts for animals, pigs that excrete 75 percent less phosphorous thus allowing them to use 33 percent less land, and enabling farmers to overcrowd the animals together even more.  Cows, pigs, sheep and poultry that grow at accelerated rates just like the recently approved genetically modified salmon that grow three times faster than normal salmon.  And for which no environmental nor long term feeding studies have ever been done. There are even scientists that are attempting to engineer dairy cows that secrete lysostaphin in their milk in order to prevent mastitis, which is a huge problem in the dairy industry that relies on the use of rBGH hormones to increase milk production.  All the while causing infections in the cow's udders that results in pus in their milk.  Yum, milk with antibiotics. Not sure if that's better than milk with pus. But then I don't drink milk.  And that's only one of the reasons why.

The basic problem with the entire concept of cloning genetically engineered animals is simple.  Mother nature isn't so cut and dried about her methods of infections and diseases.  If these guys are successful in creating a steer that can't be infected with prions for BSE or if they create a cow that won't ever get a staph infection and mastitis; what makes these guys think that mother nature won't mutate virus and bacteria.  It happens all the time.  Ebola, new flu strains EVERY SINGLE YEAR, the disease that mimics polio, but isn't polio.  Oh sorry, that one is just polio, the WHO just call it a new disease so they can get ever more funding to vaccinate the third world at a profit.  (My opinion only, not based at all on the mountains of evidence)  If farmers remove ALL genetic diversity from the farm by only raising cloned animals with one specific genotype, they are opening themselves up to massive losses from diseases that mutate to a strains that are infectious to that genotype.  With no diversity, ALL the animals will get sick.  Modern farm methods are based on containing all the animals in close confined quarters insuring the EASY spread of new diseases within the populations.  When scientists genetically altered food crops to kill insects that ate them and to withstand applications of weedkiller they never once considered the fact that the insects would become immune to the insecticide in the plants and that the weeds would thrive on the weedkiller as all have done.  It sure seems as though the scientists and corporate leaders are all short sided, or maybe just one sided and that side is profit driven science.  Once the world accepts new technology that soon fails, their scientists will produce newer more creative, perhaps more deadly replacements.

All I know is that I personally don't want to be the scientific world's guinea pig.  I should be able to opt out of being in their testing mode for humans.  I want their products labeled so that I don't have to buy them.  The FDA testing requirements for these new genetically engineered foods are totally inadequate.  Their requirement is that the corporation playing god and CREATING new animals and plants test the food for sixty days and to not even do it in a double blind feeding study.  It's all pointless, random and inaccurate, and yet our government uses those studies as gospel.  In 2010, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was asked if cloned cows and their offspring were in fact now part of the food chain in America and his response was, "I can't say today that I can answer your question in an affirmative or negative way, I don't know.  What I do know is that we know all the research, all the review of this is suggested that this is safe."  What this says to me is that the FDA, the USDA, and let's throw in all the other regulatory agencies that oversee the health of Americans; do not have any idea nor have they been DIRECTED to regulate these new technologies that by definition, are going to FAIL and of which we do not at this time even know if they are harmful in any way.

So, I have looked and looked and have been unable to find just how many of Dolly's sisters did not survive during the process of creating her.  The FDA admits that 90% die.  That's ten years after the fact.

I shop at farmers markets, I eat organic food.  I'm not a lab rat guinea pig test subject being fed genetically altered food during my lifetime to see if it causes increases in cancer, heart disease, bowel problems or any of the huge numbers of problems befalling humankind today.  Oh, wait.  maybe that's the reason all of those things have increased in our population of late.  I don't know, I'm not a scientist.  I only look at statistics that they publish.


  1. To Ricky, it isn't difficult, you go to Google and search FDA report on cloning. Or if that is too hard, go here The entire 968 page report on cloning, of interest are pages 37 thru 39 and 67, 256 and well, actually to me most of it was fascinating as all get out. Scary fascinating, sure seems like big companies just throw money away on this stuff and I can see that when the animals aren't right, they recoup some of the investment by selling the animal for slaughter. Hey, it isn't illegal, and no one has tested them to determine if they contain anything nasty. We are all just lab rats for industry, Dixie cup consumers, disposable.

  2. I read this story is not understand for me. Cloning is bad Why you not drink milk

  3. Ana, good to hear from you. I hope all is well for you in Ukraine. Cloning is just part of the process where scientists attempt to genetically modify animals by inserting foreign genes into their DNA structure and is the resultant animal possesses the traits they are looking for then they clone that animal to make more of the same. Both processes aren't very accurate. I don't drink milk because when in college I met a dairy farmer and he explained how the milking machines were a big draw for young men to work on the farms and were frequently used for purposes other than milking cows.