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Do Cow Clones Make Better Beef? Putting Theory Into Practice

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Working toward creating better beef more consistently, West Texas A&M University researchers used the clones of four cattle. They produced 13 calves with a goal of getting grade 1 beef. That level is normally only found in 0.3 percent of cattle. However, scientists in the campus near Amarillo made use of one male and three female clones for what the Texas Cattle Feeders Association deemed “a significant development” in the potential to improve beef production.

School scientists obtained the DNA samples from cattle which provided the desirable grade of meat. Although the bull which was used in the project had already passed on (by the period of one week), they were still able to produce a clone from the animal, which was referred to as Alpha in the study. The DNA of a heifer led to the clones known as Gammas one through three.

Do Cow Clones Make Better Beef? Putting Theory Into Practice

Photo: envato elements

In order to be considered grade 1 in the beef industry, the animal must be of extremely good health. Of the calves that were identified to have been birthed from the four clones, none were labeled as “low choice.” From the first seven, one was noted as being prime grade. Three more were called “high choice,” and the remainder were termed as being “average.”

Sources say such work and findings “have the potential to revolutionize the beef industry,” and as of the date of its initial findings, cloning work for improved or enhanced beef production was going to continue, however, at a commercial location. With the study’s original one-in-seven “prime” rating, it was considered a significant leap forward in terms of producing better beef, in comparison to the industry’s standard one-in-20 rating.

Do Cow Clones Make Better Beef? Putting Theory Into Practice

Photo: envato elements

In 2018, the FDA released a primer on the details around cloning with respect to the cattle industry. They identified that the details in the document were outlined as responses to questions the FDA had specific to the industry, which were studied and via an “Animal Cloning Risk Assessment, Risk Management Plan, and Guidance for Industry #179,” outlining their recommendations. Beyond identifying what cloning is, specifically, they also gave definition to the interest in it, where the cattle industry was concerned. More explicitly, they detailed disease resistance details, interest in climate suitability, body type quality, fertility, and market preference. More information on cloning in the beef industry can be found at the link provided here.