The world’s largest cloning factory planned for construction in China will eventually produce one million cloned calves a year, according to the Chinese biotechnology company behind the venture.
The BoyaLife Group told China’s Xinhua news agency on Monday that its new factory will also copy dogs, racing horses, non-human primates and other animals.
The facility, which the company plans to build in the coastal city of Tianjin, is planned to include a cloning production line, a cloned animal centre, a gene bank, and a science and education exhibition hall.
Company CEO Xu Xiaochun said the project’s main aim, according to this translated report in the Financial Times, was to mass produce elite calves to satisfy growing demand for the quality beef that China, as it gets richer, consumes in greater and greater quantities.
‘Cloned beef is the tastiest beef I’ve had!’
“I can tell you, cloned beef is the tastiest beef I’ve had!” Mr Xu told a group of sometimes sceptical journalists on a conference call, according to the report.
The report noted the contrast between the scale of China’s ambitions for cloned animal production versus the fact that Europe, where the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, was born in Scotland in 1996, does not allow cloning of farm animals.
Production is expected to start in 2016, after a 200 million yuan ($31 million) investment.
The first animal to be produced would be Japanese cows, in an attempt to lower the price of high-quality beef in the Chinese market, Dr. Xu Xiaochun, chairman and CEO of Boyalife, told Chinese media.
“(We are) now promoting cloned cows and cloned horses to improve China’s modern animal husbandry industry,” Xu said.
Sooam is said to be the world’s leader in commercial dog cloning and has produced more than 550 cloned puppies since 2005.
According to this report, anyone can get a genetic copy of a beloved dog for a price of $100,000 and sending a tissue sample of the original dog.
Founded in 2009 in the Wuxi city of eastern Zhejiang province, Boyalife has grown into a genetics giant with 28 subsidiaries and operations in 16 provinces. Besides using cloning technologies to improve livestock breeding, the new cloning factory, will be “the world’s only” research institution to produce “disease models” of large animals, Xu said.
Mr Xu said the facility will produce 100,000 cattle yearly in the “first phase” and a million per year by the second phase.
Production is expected to start in 2016, after a Rmb200m ($31m) investment, according to Xinhua.