Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Canadian Pig Clones for Medical Research

There are so many reasons why I am not happy with this story about pigs being cloned at McGill University.

We started the procedure a year ago and the pigs are now developing normally," said Dr Vilceu Bordignon, director of the Large Animal Research Unit at McGill's Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

Three litters were born Oct. 22, Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, after Bordignon and his team first collected cells from a male pig, cultured the cells in vitro and then injected them into matured female germ cells. Embryos developed in the lab were then inserted into three female pigs.

I resist the whole cloning process. I hate it. Some may say that I'm not progressive. Not true. I just have a problem with humans playing God by duplicating living things and messing with genetic codes. I believe that the pace of technology development and profit-making opportunity has far outstripped the necessary medical and bioethical debate that should be occuring. Everyone wants to make money in all sorts of ways because they can do so without considering whether they SHOULD (I know, shades of Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park in there).

Also, if you can create living beings on demand, are humans next? Will people be able to order a pretty blue-eyed girl with golden ringlets? As a peasant-brown brunette, that worries me.

Finally, look what happened to the pigles from the first batch.

The project produced 17 piglets, seven of which were euthanized and autopsied to determine any abnormalities as a result of the cloning. The remaining 10, now several weeks old, will eventually be used in biomedical research to help develop treatments for human diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"After monkeys, pigs are the best animal models to use in research because of their physiology, which is quite similar to our own," explained Bordignon.

So, almost half were killed for research and the rest will be kept alive...for research. I suspect the dead ones got off lucky.

Research on living things is research on living things. I'm opposed to it no matter if they are clones or not.

Photo by dirty bodega.

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