Cloning technology, while still highly controversial, has been around for over 20 years.
The largest animal cloning facility is due to open in Tianjin, China next year, according to the companies behind the venture. CBS News reports that the cloning center is a joint venture between Boyalife, a Chinese biotechnology firm, and Sooam Biotech, a South Korean research group. The facility is anticipated to cost $31 million and will clone animals such as cattle, dogs, and horses. A gene bank and museum is expected to be part of the facility.
According to Xu Xiaochun, chairman of Boyalife, said in a statement that Chinese farmers are not producing enough beef to meet demands. The center plans to solve the issue by producing 100,000 cattle embryos per year, hoping to eventually increase that number to 1 million.
People took to social media to express concerns over eating cloned meat, with comments asking questions such as, “Is this meat going to be sold in South Korea or China? If in China, please make our leaders eat it first.”
Some of the concerns stem from the fact that Sooam Biotech founder Woo-suk Hwang was convicted of embezzling research funds and illegally purchasing human eggs in 2009.
Cloning technology, while still highly controversial, has been around for over 20 years. In 1996, the first cloned farm animal, Dolly the Sheep, was born. Farmed animal cloning was banned by the European Parliament in September, over concerns of animal welfare. China has successfully cloned sheep, cattle, and pigs since 2000.
Boyalife, according to a statement posted to their website, says that companies have expressed that they are interested in investing in cloning technology for commercial use.