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Major Farm Animal Cloning Project Cancelled Due to Disease and Deaths

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, and our Cloning Information page.

After 13 years of studying how to prevent abnormalities in cloned animals, AgResearch has ended its cloning project because too many of the animals died.

AgResearch is a New Zealand based company that has spent more than a decade trying to perfect the cloning of animals for use in scientific and medical research.

Their cloning trials tried to create: animals that produced a type of "super milk", sheep that were resistant to eczema, pregnant sheep that wanted to eat more food, and special proteins to be used in human medications.

But on Monday the company released a report that said "only 10 percent of the cloned animals survived through the research trials" and because of the" unnecessary suffering" of the animals they had stopped their cloning projects.

The majority of animals died as a result of spontaneous abortions and hydrops - where a cow's uterus fills with water, leading to euthanasia of the fetus and mother. Sixteen calves from mid gestation and beyond aborted or "died in the neonatal period last year." Another 10 fetuses or calves were euthanized along with 14 adult cows.

The report also stated that cloned cattle, sheet and goats suffered from medical conditions such as chronic arthritis, pneumonia, lameness and blood poisoning.

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