Precautionary Principle Slows Cloning Innovation

(p. A8) Dolly the Sheep started her life in a test tube in 1996 and died just six years later. When she was only a year old, there was evidence that she might have been physically older. At five, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. And at six, a CT scan revealed tumors growing in her lungs, likely the result of an incurable infectious disease. Rather than let Dolly suffer, the vets put her to rest.
Poor Dolly never stood a chance. Or did she?
Meet Daisy, Diana, Debbie and Denise. “They’re old ladies. They’re very healthy for their age,” said Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biologist who, with his colleagues at the University of Nottingham in Britain, has answered a longstanding question about whether cloned animals like Dolly age prematurely.
In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the scientists tested these four sheep, created from the same cell line as Dolly, and nine other cloned sheep, finding that, contrary to popular belief, cloned animals appear to age normally.
. . .
Not only did many countries, including Canada and Australia, ban reproductive cloning in animals, but the United Nations banned all kinds of cloning in humans in 2005. Last year the European Union made importing food from cloned animals or their offspring illegal.
. . .
Now, based on results of this new study, researchers have confirmed what most scientists believed years ago: Cloning does not lead to premature aging.
. . .
Many scientists hope that changes in perception will lead to advances in reproductive technology that will enable us to provide food for a growing global population, save endangered species and develop advanced therapies.

For the full story, see:
JOANNA KLEIN. “Dolly’s Fellow Clones, Enjoying the Golden Years.” The New York Times (Weds., JULY 27, 2016): A8.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JULY 26, 2016, and has the title “Dolly the Sheep’s Fellow Clones, Enjoying Their Golden Years.”)

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