Clone me a pony.
By now you have heard about the Korean group who successfully cloned lines of embryonic stem cells with nuclei from individuals with injuries or diseases. There is plenty of debate on the subject (John Rennie provides a nice review of some opinions), and President Bush has stood fast on his anti-cloning position:
"I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable. Secondly, I made my position very clear on embryonic stem cells. I'm a strong supporter of adult stem cell research, of course. But I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is -- I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."There have also been new developments in equine cloning. The Jockey Club, which regulates thoroughbred racing in North America, will not allow artificial insemination, let alone cloning. You can read all of the rules here. The Jockey Club is against cloning for different reasons that the Bush administration, but none of it is based in solid science. Dan Rosenberg, president of the farm that breeds Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones said:
"Part of the intrigue, part of what makes horse racing so appealing is the challenge and the art of breeding a better animal. It will become less appealing if it comes down to which owners and breeders can hire the best scientists. Do we really want races that pit 10 Secretariats against each other?"His argument assumes:
- Geneticists will be able to identify alleles that make horses win races;
- Geneticists will be able to engineer horses that have winning genotypes;
- And a horse's racing success is mostly due to genetic factors (as opposed to environment, the jockey, or dumb luck).
Don't fear the end of equine cloning just because the Jockey Club does not allow it -- Olympic jumping horses can still compete even if they are clones.