For many years, the idea of cloning has been the stuff of sci-fi novels and futuristic movies. However, in China, cloning is a very real–and very profitable–business.
China has plans to build the “world’s largest animal cloning factory [for] producing dogs, horses and up to a million beef cattle a year [to keep up with market demand].”
Plans to complete construction and begin production are scheduled for 2016, thanks to an investment of $31 million.
The project is being backed by Boyalife Group, “the leading stem cell cluster in the world,” according to the website. The group specializes in advanced biopharm research, anti-aging and disease studies and of course, cloning.
The project will be a collaboration between a Boyalife subsidiary, two domestic research institutions, and Sooam Bitotech Research Foundation from South Korea.
China’s first commercial cloning company is a joint venture between the two that was established last September in the city of Weihai. The group successfully cloned three Tibetan mastiffs, a highly-coveted “status” symbol pet in Chinese culture.
Sooam, the world’s leader in commercial dog cloning, has produced more than 550 cloned puppies since 2005. Anyone can get a genetic copy of a beloved dog—after paying $100,000 and sending a tissue sample of the original dog.
Working with proven, successful cloning research like Sooam, the entire group of partnering institutions is planning to expand to cattle primarily, as well as horses and other animals. Many people have concerns about the ethics, legality and even safety of cloning these animals. What do you think?