Cloned animals are unlikely to make it onto UK farms at any point in the near future, despite the December birth of the daughter of a cloned Holstein cow on a UK dairy farm.
Reports in the Daily Mail on Wednesday claimed the birth of the calf Dundee Paradise heralded the arrival of clone farming in the UK.
“It raises the prospect of milk and meat from the offspring of clones reaching the shops without proper safety checks,” said the paper.
Dundee Paradise, the offspring of USA clone Vandyk-K Integ Paradise 2, was imported into the UK as an embryo and was sold to Sheikha Noora Bint Isa Alkhalifa of Sahara Holsteins at Harrison and Hetherington’s Borderway Black and White sale, Carlisle for 14,000gns last month, by Wolverhampton-based Smiddiehill Holsteins.
However, Holstein UK’s Simon Gee said the likelihood of clones appearing on UK farms was low as they could not be registered with any breed society in the EU. “Additionally, the costs make it prohibitive for all but the most elite of animals.”
In terms of progressive breeding, Mr Gee emphasised that cloning was only a sideways step and wouldn’t allow breeders to make any genetic progress as it merely replicated animals which already existed.
“Clearly the breeder involved in importing this embryo wanted access to the bloodlines of Vandyk-K Integ Paradise 2 and this represented the best way to access them.”
Cloning would only have real value when a high genetic merit animal had to be destroyed due to injury and this represented the only way to preserve its genetics, he added.
Importer Oliver Eaton of Smiddiehill Holsteins was unavailable for comment as Farmers Weekly went to press.
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