‘Eve’ marks the birth of a new era in beef breeding
YOU often hear hand-made is best.
And a group of scientists, biologists and researchers are investigating the possibility of "hand-made" cloning cattle for commercial operations.
With the birth of "Eve" 23 days ago so far it is looking promising for the architects of this new system.
The managing director of ART (Australian Reproductive Technologies), and biotechnologist, Simon Walton said it was "very early days" but he was buoyed by Eve's birth and the health of the young calf so far.
"It will be many years before we can use this technology in a commercially viable way," Mr Walton said.
"At the moment the cost of cloning on a large-scale operation is prohibitive with each procedure costing $15,000. But the new technique only costs $5000 to $6000."
Mr Walton stresses cloning is not for monetary gains alone.
"Cloning is exactly that - cloning; helping nature to make an exact replica of itself," Mr Walton said.
"If a farmer has a prize bull worth, say, $200,000 then cloning that animal is the best insurance policy he can have if it were to suddenly die for whatever reason."
The new hand-cloning method was developed by Professor Gabor Vajta who works for CQUniversity.
Dolly the sheep was the first time an animal had been cloned.
But it was done with expensive micro-manipulators and inverted microscopes.
The new method allows the biotechnologists to use hand-held micro tools which are much cheaper.
"This also allows us to train our people sooner rather than using the more expensive method," Mr Walton said. But he said people need not fear the technology and that there was nothing sinister about it.
"We have much more research and study and there are always issues with any new scientific techniques," he said. "That is why we will be making 100% sure everything is right before we introduce it commercially."