September 16, 2015


China researchers hopeful on quality beef from cloned GM cows


A healthy calf has been born to a cloned, genetically modified cow in China, the state news agency Xinhua reported.


The heifer has remained healthy, six months after its birth on August 28, according to Ni Hemin, who led the research at Beijing University of Agriculture.


The report said the calf's mother, named Niu Niu, is one of two clones born in 2012 with a gene inserted to increase the fat level of their muscle.


The researchers said the birth of the healthy calf was a crucial step toward producing marbled beef. Marbling refers to the white flecks and streaks of fat intertwined within the lean sections of meat. It is key to a good-quality beef. China at present relies on expensive marbled beef imports as it lacks breeds that produce marbled meat.


Ni said that tests on the calf indicated that the fat-increasing gene has been passed. The new breed has no more negative impact on the environment than conventionally bred cattle, he added.


In the EU, however, the Parliament this month backed a European Commission proposal to ban cloning of animals, including food animals, their offspring and all products derived from them including imports into the EU.


Surveys have also indicated that the majority of European consumers reject foods produced from cloned animals.-Rick Alberto

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