- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

Researchers who cloned a healthy female calf from a dead cow's cells said the new technique will allow consumers to order steaks, burgers and roasts that are consistently tender, juicy and mouth-watering.
"It means you will not only be able to pick out an animal on the basis of how well it looks or how it's grown, but you will also be able to pick one out on the basis of how tender its meat is," said Steven Stice, a University of Georgia professor of animal and dairy science who led the cloning research.
Mr. Stice's team of scientists last week introduced K.C., the first calf cloned from the cells of a slaughtered adult cow rather than a live one.
The researchers called their achievement a "breakthrough," saying it will permit cattle producers to select and clone choice beef from their stock.
The DNA, or genetic material, used to create K.C., an Angus-Hereford cross delivered Monday, was extracted from the kidney area of an adult cow two days after she had been slaughtered. Mr. Stice said K.C., which is short for kidney cell, will not be killed for taste testing.
"Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is examining whether [animal] cloning needs more oversight whether it should be regulated. The FDA has said it does not want cloned animals in the food chain at this point," said Mr. Stice.
Randall Prathers, a cloning specialist at the University of Missouri, believes it would be difficult to guarantee cloned cow meat quality would be identical to that of a genetic parent.
Differences in the quality of feed and other environmental factors could cause variations, he said.
Mr. Stice believes such differences can be overcome. "This technology offers the opportunity to produce a more valuable product," Mr. Stice said.
The Georgia research marked only the second time any mammal had been created from cells from a dead one. Last fall, Italian scientists reported they had recovered cells from two endangered wild sheep dead for 18 to 24 hours and had used them to produce a healthy clone.
Mr. Stice stressed that the cow carcass from which K.C. was cloned went through a cooling process for 48 hours, so the kidney cells were still alive. He said it was "exactly the same" cooling process that any side of beef goes through after an animal has been slaughtered.
The scientists then permitted the live kidney cells to grow in a petri dish before placing a cell's nucleus in an unfertilized egg. The next steps were incubating the egg, culturing it for seven days and transferring it to a "surrogate mother" cow.
"We probably transferred seven [cloned] embryos and got one to term," Mr. Stice said. That 14 percent success rate is nearly three times better than the average 5 percent survival rate for cloned cattle embryos.
The research was done by the University of Georgia scientists in partnership with ProLinia Inc., a biotechnology firm in Athens, which concentrates on producing improved animals for the agricultural industry. Mr. Stice said he is the chief science officer for ProLinia.
The university will hold the U.S. patent on the cloning technique, once it's approved. ProLinia will be the sole licensee.

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