Cloning and biotechnology offer significant potential for genetic advancement in food animals, but the technologies also have the potential for generating controversy, misunderstanding and fear among the public.  

To provide consumers with scientific information to help them weigh the risks and potential benefits of the new technologies, The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) will be releasing a new Issue Paper--Animal Productivity and Genetic Diversity: Cloned and Transgenic Animals--next week.

Dr. Robert Wall, of the Agricultural Research Service's Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Beltsville, Md., led the eight-member Task Force in a review of the complexities surrounding the issue. Topics addressed include cloning farm animals for breeding and direct food consumption; disease resistance in transgenic animals; and the use of transgenics for improved food safety and quality, decreased environmental impact, and increased potential efficiency.

The new publication, Part 8 of a 9-part CAST series titled "Animal Agriculture's Future through Biotechnology," will be released next Thursday, August 20, 2009, at the "2009 Transgenic Animal Research Conference" in Lake Tahoe, Calif. Task Force Author Dr. Elizabeth Maga, University of California, Davis, will introduce the paper.

This Issue Paper also will be introduced at three venues in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 28, 2009.

Those presentations, titled "Divide and Multiply: Cloned and Transgenic Animals," will be led by Task Force Chair Dr. Robert Wall and CAST Executive Vice President Dr. John Bonner at the following locations:

  • USDA, "Diverse Voices in Agriculture" Series 107-A WhittenBuilding, 9:15-10:00 am.
  • National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR), Lunch~N~Learn" Seminar Series 1302 LongworthBuilding, 12:00 noon-1:00 pm
  • Biotechnology Information Organization (BIO)
    1201 Maryland Ave., SW, Ste. 900
    , 2:00-3:00 pm

Beginning August 20, 2009, the full text of the paper Animal Productivity and Genetic Diversity: Cloned and Transgenic Animals (Issue Paper 43, 16 pp.) will be available on line from CAST without charge online

Hard copies of the report also will be available, with shipping and handling fees, by calling  (515) 292-2125.