Thursday, December 28, 2006

Clone Curry-- More (or not) Please!

The Cloning of Dolly (circa 1996) was a scientific breakthrough most definitely not without haunting emotional hang ups of the dark power of man. It was one of those findings, that marked the end of an established era with scientists and laymen alike questioning their readiness or even willingness to embrace novelty. A tad bit unnerving, but most found comfort in that the technique itself was not commercial, most likely a fluke and irreproducible expriment that would have no direct influence on their life (especially with Dolly dying an early cancerous death).
A little more than a decade later, this CNN report changes everything. The FDA's concession with the involved Biotechs on the "indistinguishability" of milk and meat from normal and cloned cattle, brings in its wake nothing short of a shockwave among consumers. Add to this knowledge, that a decision on special labels for clone- based (if you will) foods is still pending, shoots the "yuck factor" to a whole different level. If I push aside the thought that maybe a couple of decades from now I can clone my own dinner (or my own baby for that matter, minus labor and epidural) and seriously think about it, a clone is an identical genetic replica of the original organism not even an improvement. Man- the horticulturist and animal breeder, from time immemorial has been obsessed with the hardiest, most, mixing, matching and multiplying all sorts of plant and animal concoctions. So how different can this be? The FDA is taking precautions by allowing animal clones only for breeding and placing an informal ban by asking farmers and companies to keep cloned animals away from food supply. But considering that knowledge of the safety of food from cloned animals is still shaky at best ( a Pubmed search resulted in a cartload of conflicting peer reviewed articles) and that the FDA's final decision inspite of surety is only months away is enough to send chills down my spine (along with strong impulses to turn vegan)!

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