Scientists in China have announced that they hope to open the first mass cloning factory by the end of the year, where they can clone cattle, pets, and, all being well, humans!
The appliance of science is a wondrous thing, but in the wrong hands, it can lead to the stuff of genetically-modified nightmares and scenarios so twisted they would leave Eminem tongue tied in disbelief.
Take cloning, for example. It has its arguments for and against, but the bottom line is when you start playing god, then the devil is in the detail., which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but neither does cloning to most people.
Cloning is all about control and the transformation of man into the almighty. Pro-cloners believe cloning will lead to miraculous medical breakthroughs and cures for conditions and diseases that have plagued human beings since we first crept cautiously from the cave and stumbled like hungover students into the daylight.
The clone army believes that playing head chef with a person’s DNA could lead to eternal youth as immortality is discovered in a test tube and each individual can clone the life they really want. More importantly, cloning could eventually lead to a cure for baldness.
But at what price? It is commonly known that variety is the spice of life and inbreeding for certain desirable characteristics leads to the increased risk of genetic defects, which pedigree dogs and, to a certain extent, past members of the British royal family have suffered terribly from.
The mongrel has always been more adaptable and healthier than the pedigree. Nature has her own way of doing things, and she’s been doing it for a long time.
Compared with creating life in a lab, making babies is pretty effortless, just how nature intended it. What’s more, you could create someone who is genetically identical to Albert Einstein right down to the bottom dollar, but nurture, environment, experience, and let’s be old fashioned and say soul could all send Albert’s double on a completely different path to his DNA dad.
It’s all part of the innocence of chance, the joy of the unexpected, and the whimsical nature of fate, but that’s neither here nor there as far as hordes of men in white coats in China are concerned.
They want to up the ante in the clone wars and create a mass production assembly line for cloning. A sort of Clones R Us.
The Express reports that this “ambitious and futuristic facility” in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin hopes that by 2020 to be mass producing one million cows every month. Now that’s a lot of bully. Yet there’s more.
As well as cloning cattle, the facility plans to engineer police dogs and thoroughbred race horses, which kind of takes the fun out of gambling.
The mass cloning factory is backed by the Boyalife group in collaboration with South Korean company Sooam Biotech Research Foundation to the tune of $21 million.
Xu Xiaochun, the CEO of Boyalife, believes the factory could produce “shiny, good-looking, and uniformly shaped animals.”
“Everything in the supermarket looks good – it’s almost all shiny, good-looking, and uniformly shaped. For animals, we weren’t able to do that in the past.
“But with our cloning factory, we choose to do so now. The technology is already there.
“If this is allowed. I don’t think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology.”
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that “meat and milk from cow, pig, and goat clones and the offspring of any animal clones are as safe as food we eat every day,” many fear that it’s the thin edge of the wedge and cloning humans is only a test tube away.
Although Xiaochun has stressed there are no plans in the pipeline to clone and produce humans, that could all change if enough people warm to the idea.
“Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad.
“Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one.
“You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice.
“We want the public to see that cloning is really not that crazy, that scientists aren’t weird, dressed in lab coats, hiding behind a sealed door doing weird experiments.”
The idea behind the mass cloning factory was to originally meet China’s increasing demand for meat, which has risen by 25 percent in the last five years and will rise by another 2.2 million tons over the next decade.
Yet, as far as cloning is concerned, the scientists believe the world is their oyster and have already revealed plans to clone dearly beloved pets who have died.
J.G. Ballard might have once said, “I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.”
But give a scientist a test tube and a DNA sample and they’ll unleash merry hell as they remake the world in their vision, and it’s got nothing to do with imagination.
[Photo by PPL Therapeutics via BWP Media/Getty Images]