The Chinese scientist behind the world’s biggest cloning factory can replicate humans using advanced technology, but he is not yet doing it, reports AFP.
Dr. Xiao-Chun Xu, the Chairman and CEO of Boyalife Group said his company is already working on improving the cloning of primates to better test animals for diseases. He added that they already have the technology to clone humans, and it is just a “shot biological step” from monkeys to humans.
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“The technology is already there. If this is allowed, I don’t think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology,” said Dr. Xu. He emphasized that his company in not yet engaged in human cloning and practices “self-restrain” because of possible adverse reaction.
Boyalife is building an animal cloning center
Boyalife Group and its partners recently signed an agreement to build a commercial animal cloning center in the northern port city of Tianjin. The move could bring cloning, a controversial science into mainstream acceptance.
The commercial animal cloning center is expected to start its operation in the first half of 2016. Boyalife plans to clone different animals including sniffer and pet dogs, beef cattle, and thoroughbred race horses. The company aims to produce one million cows by 2020.
Boyalife is currently working with its South Korean partner Sooam Botech and the Chinese Academy of Science to improve its primate cloning capability to produce better animals for disease research.
Chinese scientists already cloned cattle, sheep, and pigs since 2000. A joint venture between Boyalife and Sooam Biotech was the first commercial cloning company in China, which was established in September 2014 with the birth of three pure-blooded Tibetan mastiff puppies.
Humans can have more choices of reproduction in the future
According to Dr. Xu noted that social values can change. He noted that people’s views about homosexuality are now changing and suggested that humans can have more choices of reproduction in the future.
“Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad. Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one,” he went on. “You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice,” said Dr. Xu.
At present, Dr. Xu wants to become the first produces of cloned beef, breeding genetically identical super-cattle that taste like Kobe. He said, “’Remember, this is food. We want it to be uniform, very consistent, very premium quality.”
“Everything in the supermarket looks good – it’s almost all shiny, good-looking, and uniformly shaped. For animals, we weren’t able to do that in the past. But with our cloning factory, we choose to do so now,” he added.
Cloning as a safeguard to biodiversity
The Tianjin commercial cloning facility will have gene bank capable of storing as much as five million cell samples frozen in liquid nitrogen. It will hold a catalogue if the world’s endangered species for future regeneration. The facility will present cloning as a safeguard to biodiversity.
Sooam Biotech is currently working on a project to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction by cloning cells preserved for thousands of years in the Siberian permafrost.
The South Korean firm is reportedly serving a niche market cloning the dead pet dogs of customers for $100,000 a time. Sooam Biotech head Woo-Suk was quoted by Dong-a Ilbo newspaper saying, ‘We have decided to locate the facilities in China in case we enter the phase of applying the technology to human bodies.”