Agro-economic impact of cattle cloning

Cloning Stem Cells. 2004;6(2):198-207. doi: 10.1089/1536230041372463.


The purpose of this paper is to review the economic and social implications of cloned cattle, their products, and their offspring as related to production agriculture. Cloning technology in cattle has several applications outside of traditional production agriculture. These applications can include bio-medical applications, such as the production of pharmaceuticals in the blood or milk of transgenic cattle. Cloning may also be useful in the production of research models. These models may or may not include genetic modifications. Uses in agriculture include many applications of the technology. These include making genetic copies of elite seed stock and prize winning show cattle. Other purposes may range from "insurance" to making copies of cattle that have sentimental value, similar to cloning of pets. Increased selection opportunities available with cloning may provide for improvement in genetic gain. The ultimate goal of cloning has often been envisioned as a system for producing quantity and uniformity of the perfect dairy cow. However, only if heritability were 100%, would clone mates have complete uniformity. Changes in the environment may have significant impact on the productivity and longevity of the resulting clones. Changes in consumer preferences and economic input costs may all change the definition of the perfect cow. The cost of producing such animals via cloning must be economically feasible to meet the intended applications. Present inefficiencies limit cloning opportunities to highly valued animals. Improvements are necessary to move the applications toward commercial application. Cloning has additional obstacles to conquer. Social and regulatory acceptance of cloning is paramount to its utilization in production agriculture. Regulatory acceptance will need to address the animal, its products, and its offspring. In summary, cloning is another tool in the animal biotechnology toolbox, which includes artificial insemination, sexing of semen, embryo sexing and in vitro fertilization. While it will not replace any of the above mentioned, its degree of utilization will depend on both improvement in efficiency as well as social and regulatory acceptance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Cloning, Organism / economics*
  • Cloning, Organism / ethics*
  • Cloning, Organism / veterinary
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects
  • Dairying / economics*
  • Dairying / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Meat Products / adverse effects