For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2004
Dane VandenBerg, 202-466-7246
Safety of Clones in Food Supply Underscored in National Academy of Sciences Report
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) once again endorsed the safety of cloned animals in the food supply in a report released yesterday on possible unintended effects of genetically engineered foods. The report clearly states that 'there is no scientific evidence that cloning is associated with any unintended compositional change that results in an unintended health consequence in humans.'"(1)
These findings underscore an earlier NAS report released in 2002, as well as the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration's (FDA) preliminary 2003 risk assessment.
In addition, the NAS document confirms that this advanced breeding technique will allow farmers,
ranchers and producers to quickly get the highest quality animals to market. Consumers will get
better food, because of the "increased genetic merit (of clones) for increased food production,
disease resistance, and reproductive efficiency."(2)
"The science is clear," said Sara Davis, Ph. D., President of ViaGen, "Clones and their offspring are perfectly safe in the food supply and are indistinguishable from animals bred in other ways."
However, the panel cautioned that clones of non-food (e.g., pharmaceutical) producing transgenic
animals should not be used in food production. Furthermore, the panel suggested that a national
identification system be put in place for all transgenic clones. Genetically modified animal are
primarily developed for potential pharmaceutical applications.
In addition to being the world's leading producer of cloned livestock, ViaGen also performs DNA fingerprinting on animals that can track livestock from the pasture to dinner table. This technology would allow for the aftermarket tracking of transgenic clones suggested by the NAS. Most importantly, outbreaks of disease, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can be rapidly contained through targeted recalls.
About ViaGen: ViaGen provides state-of-the-art advanced breeding services powered by genomics to all sectors of the $240 billion livestock, aquaculture and companion animal industry. Unmatched genomic capabilities allow ViaGen to identify economically important genetic traits in virtually any animal species, information that is paired with ViaGen's expertise in advanced reproductive technologies to obtain revenue enhancing improvements in quality, yield,
safety and brand integrity.
(2)National Research Council. Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects. Washington: National Academies Press. 2004.
# # #