First clone of champion racehorse revealed


New Scientist (among others) recently discussed the work of Italian scientist Cesare Galli, whose cloned horse might begin to cause problems for the world of horse racing:

However, it is not just the sports community that is concerned about this matter:

"William Allen, head of the team at the Equine Research Unit in Newmarket, UK, accuses the government of capitulating to animal welfare groups. Animal Aid, a British-based animal welfare lobby group, opposes cloning of horses on the grounds that cloned embryos are often deformed or grossly over-sized, and so should not be created for what they argue is a leisure activity."

What would be a good reason to clone an animal or a human, if not sport? Perhaps one might suggest that medical research is the only justified context, but only out of necessity. It is not that we want to clone anything at all, but doing so would be incredibly valuable to our understanding of biology and, specifically, disease. Indeed, this is the kind of argument used to defend animal research more broadly. If there were alternative means to advance research, then they would be used. While I don't think this is an adequate position, it might explain why 'leisure' is not important enough.

This news can be traced back to an earlier creation of Galli's team, discussed here:

Galli, C., I. Lagutina, et al. (2003). "A cloned foal born to its dam twin." Nature 424: 635.