Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Only society's fears are stopping me from cloning a human' - Top scientist boasts about creating human copies

Dolly the first cloned sheep. PA
Dolly the first cloned sheep. PA

David Kearns

The world's largest animal cloning factory could soon be creating human copies, according to its top scientist.

“The technology is already there,” says Xu Xiaochun (44), chief executive of BoyaLife – which has begun development of the world’s first cloning factory in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin.

The Chinese scientist says only “society’s fears” are stopping him from attempting to clone a human being.

“With our cloning factory, we choose to do so now," he told AFP.

“Hampering such a project are ethical issues so we must practice self-restrained to avoid a possible public backlash.”

Mr Xiaochun continued, saying that he was hopeful people would change their views about cloning in the future.

“Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad.

“Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one.

“You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice," the 44-year-old CEO said.

Boyalife has invested some €28 million into its cloning factory and plans to begin operations early next year.

The firm said it would be cloning more than one million cows a year by 2020, and that it would expand its factory to include the cloning of racehorses, police dogs and pets.

The Latter is quite a lucrative market, with some people reportedly prepared to pay up to $100,000 for bringing a deceased pet back to life as a clone.

"Everything in the supermarket looks good – it’s almost all shiny, good-looking, and uniformly shaped. For animals, we weren't able to do that in the past. But now we can,” said Mr Xiaochun.

“We want the public to see that cloning is really not that crazy, that scientists aren’t weird, dressed in lab coats, hiding behind a sealed door doing weird experiments."

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