Cattle geneticist John Hodges, now rtd, worked much of his
career helping rural Africa to breed better cattle. In a recent tour
of NZ he gave thoughtful seminars expressing many reservations about
Subject: Food from cloned animals
Between Christmas and New Year, the US Government Food & Drug
Administration (FDA) announced preliminary approval of milk and meat from
clones of cattle, goats and pigs.
They are inviting comments from all over the world until the end of March.
At their website site there is a place for "Comments" where anyone anywhere
in the world can give their position - presumably against.
I think there are several big issues to indicate they ought not to agree to
put these products in the human food chain. You and your friends may wish
to send these to oppose the introduction of animal products from lines of
1. Scientifically there is clearly an interaction between somatic
nuclear DNA and the cytoplasm of the egg into which it is inserted to
produce a somatic clone - like Dolly. This interaction is triggered
artificially in the laboratory to reprogramme the nuclear DNA to make it
start working again in the new embryo instead of in the mature adult where
it has come from. Therefore there must be information passing between the
cytoplasm and the DNA - which we do not understand. The effects of this
disrupted flow of information need years of testing and research before
products from animal clones are put into the human food chain. The possible
effects upon the human genome could be very serious as found with BSE.
2. Comparing food from cloned animal lines and from normal sexually
reproduced animals is a very shallow way of measurement and clearance on
the basis of "no-substantial difference". The unknown differences lie not
in the food constituents but in the unknown long-term effects of the DNA
and the proteins which they express.
3. There is enormous latent consumer resistance to eating animal
products from clones and from genetically modified animals. This will
emerge as a very negative factor in the sale and consumption of animal
products and will do the greatest disservice to the livestock industry
internationally as well as nationally.
4. Where are the cost-benefit analyses showing benefits to the
consumer - as opposed to the investors in clones for breeding?
5. There is evidence of animal pain and difficulty in the production
6. Finally, if they go ahead then products from cloned lines of
animals should be labelled - after all we do live in a market economy in
which flow of information is supposed to enable the consumer to decide.
I hope you can pass this information to the local folk by email or by hard
copy in case any of them wish to send a comment to the US FDA via their
website. I think this is extremely important for the cattle industry and
consumers worldwide and needs to be nipped in the bud.