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About Animal Technologies


Many applications of animal cloning and genetic modification are controversial for environmental, health, animal welfare, and social reasons.

At least eighteen animal species have been cloned since 1996, when scientists produced Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal. Then and now, only a tiny percentage of cloning attempts produce live offspring. Many of these clones are unhealthy, and some leading scientists believe that none are "normal."

Nonetheless, animal cloning efforts continue. Some are justified as scientific experiments. Others are commercial ventures, either to produce pets for consumers or breeding animals for the livestock industry. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the inclusion of meat and milk from cloned animals (without labels) in the  food supply.

Like cloning, genetic modification of animals is remarkably inefficient. It is being pursued for several purposes. Genetically modified (or transgenic) animals are commonly used in research. Efforts are underway to produce transgenic pigs as a source of organ transplants, transgenic fish for food, and transgenic livestock that resist animal diseases. In a practice sometimes called pharming, several mammalian species (cattle, sheep, and goats) have been genetically engineered to produce commercially useful human proteins in their milk. Fish engineered to glow in the dark have been developed and marketed as pets. Proposals to clone extinct species, particularly mammoths and neanderthals, regularly appear in the news media.



Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?by Philip BallThe Guardian January 8th, 2017A perfectly feasible 10-20% improvement in health via PGD, added to the comparable advantage that wealth already brings, could lead to a widening of the health gap between rich and poor, both within a society and between nations.
Rewriting the Code of Lifeby Michael SpecterNew YorkerJanuary 2nd, 2017Combining gene drive and CRISPR/Cas9 technologies, Kevin Esvelt is in an unusual position. There has never been a more powerful biological tool, or one with more potential to both improve the world and endanger it.
2016 Fear vs Hope: Gene Editing— Terrible turning point?by Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleJanuary 1st, 2017As the tools for gene editing rapidly advance, we approach our best chance to prevent the rise of a modern, uncontrolled and dangerously ill-considered techno-eugenics.
‘Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meetingby Ewen CallawayNatureDecember 21st, 2016Environmental activists’ appeals for a freeze on gene-drive field trials, and on some lab research, are likely to resurface in the future.
Four Steps Forward, One Leap Back on Global Governance of Synthetic Biologyby ETC GroupETC GroupDecember 19th, 2016196 countries meeting at the UN Convention on Biodiversity grappled with how synthetic biology and other risky technologies threaten biodiversity, local economies, and the rights of farmers and Indigenous Peoples.
Review of Blame: A Novelby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 28th, 2016Blame is especially important for those unfamiliar with the range of ethical, social, legal, and political issues raised by applications of what is learned in a lab. While a work of fiction, it is definitely not science-fiction
Obama’s Science Advisors Are Worried About Future CRISPR Terrorismby Daniel OberhausVICE MotherboardNovember 21st, 2016While the form biological threats will take in the future is uncertain, what is certain is that the United States is not at all prepared to deal with them.
DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes' in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseasesby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]November 16th, 2016The technique allows DNA changes that have not previously been possible, modifying the genes of non-dividing cells in a living animal.
Blood from human teens rejuvenates body and brains of old miceby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistNovember 15th, 2016A biotech company working with mice is hoping to translate animal research into anti-ageing treatments for humans.
Synthetic human genome project releases its draft timelineby Ike SwelitzStat NewsOctober 28th, 2016HGP-Write rebrands itself suggesting broader visions to synthesize "all sorts of...genomes, not just humans," but issues of transparency loom.
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