The subject of cloning animals and their offspring is set to go under the microscope in the coming weeks, after the European Commission announced today that it had asked scientists to assess the risks involved.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been asked to assess the implications of cloning for food safety, animal health, animal welfare and the environment, in a bid to help the Commission determine how to deal with such animals and their by-products in the years to come.
Likely to develop and expand
Although cloning is currently only carried out for research purposes in Europe, the Commission predicts that it is “likely to develop and expand both in the EU and internationally in the future.”
The Commission has also requested that the European Group of Ethics provide an updated opinion on the ethical aspects of cloning techniques, paying particular attention to the health risks for cloned farm animals and the possible effects on biodiversity.
EFSA is expected to deliver its opinion in six months.