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China Science

Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the baconators-for-all dept.
Sockatume writes "According to an article published by the BBC, Chinese firm BGI has refined cloning procedures to the point where they can produce 500 pigs per year, performing two embryo implantations per day with a 70-80% success rate. Much of the operation is concerned with producing genetically-engineered animals for research. The biotech firm's other work includes million-individual-scale animal and plant genetic sequencing."
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Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year

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  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by almitydave (2452422) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:49PM (#45956735)

    Mankind's millennia-long dream for perfect bacon is nearing realization!

    • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @05:17PM (#45957107)
      and now they are at it... why not implement some chicken DNA as well. Have bacon and egg`s in one go.
      Oh, and bread DNA, baked beans DNA, orange juice DNA, coffee DNA, newspaper DNA, naging wife DNA, sunrise DNA and some razorburn DNA and we are all set for the day!
      What a glorious future it will be!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fluorescent pigs are already a thing:
      http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/glow-in-the-dark-pigs.jpg

      Bacon you can find in the dark!

    • Bacon: Food of the gods!

      EOF.
      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Bacon: Food of the gods!

        EOF.

        if you lift your hands to heaven you will have bacon from 500 pigs...

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          Don't understand your post, is this a religious thing?

          If so; please count me out, I hate religion. Turns ostensibly sensible people into *nutters*.
          • Re: if you lift your hands to heaven you will have bacon from 500 pigs...

            Peasant! Cretin! Varlet! Thou roynish shard-borne coxcomb!

            Click it: Linky [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298)

      Inviting the most downmods in my entire history of posting to slashdot, but bacon isn't that good, in fact being one of the least flavorful cuts of meat, and I wish the internet would come to terms with that fact.

      • Heh, at least you're prepared for the downvote storm.
        A bacon & runny egg roll from a greasy spoon is the absolute best hangover cure. Certainly the tastiest.

        If you think bacon tasteless you're buying it from the wrong place, try a local butcher.
        Mine can be found here http://www.wards-meats.co.uk/products.htm [wards-meats.co.uk]
        • I mean, it's not "grilled chicken breast" level of flavorless that it can't stand on it's own, but even from pigs, bacon doesn't stand up to a good rib or loin.

          • Depends how you cook it & the provenance of the bacon.
            Top tip: Try bacon from a local butcher's shop, dry cured & not pumped full of nasty salty water.
      • by Tukz (664339)

        Don't buy the salted bacon at the local supermarket, go to the butchers.

        • I'm sorry, but "it's really good if you find a good source" is a claim that applies to every single foodstuff. I can compare supermarket apples to supermarket oranges, and still know my local farmers market does both better.

          • by bloodhawk (813939)
            Bacon is not like Apples or Oranges or even other cuts of meat. It doesn't just require a good quality source product (i.e. the pig), the quality vastly varies by the processes used for curing. So you are not just affected by the cheap quality meat when purchasing from supermarket, you are doubly impacted by their cheap rapid processing and poor quality curing to allow them to get it in the stores as fast as possible. This creates far greater difference between what you get from a good butcher and a poor bu
      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        traditional smoked bacon from a good butcher is with out a doubt one of the most flavourful cuts of meat available (at least in my opinion). You are probably buying your bacon from a supermarket or cheap butcher.
        • by JanneM (7445)

          I think that's the point, really: to make it taste good you need to cure and smoke it to the point where you could have used cardboard dipped in lard without noticing much of a difference.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        You're wrong. In fact bacon can have a lot of flavor.

        Sadly, it's hard to find any restaurant that sells a proper bacon cut.. so you get a thin as paper tasteless piece of trash.

        Thick cut, cooked in the oven will give you tender and flavorful bacon.

        However, the bacon fad has , thankfully, peaked. becasue, you do not need bacon on everything.

        Nothing in my post should be taken as trying to get you to like bacon. Simply to point out that there can be very flavorful bacon.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Mankind's millennia-long dream for perfect bacon is nearing realization!

      It's the exact same bacon, but does it taste better?

      "when i realized my breakfast bacon tasted precisely like my breakfast bacon of two months back, why, my MONOCLE POPPED RIGHT OUT!"

      • It's the exact same bacon, but does it taste better?

        It's probably not the exact same bacon. I expect terroir [wikipedia.org] will come into play - minor differences in diet and season may produce obvious differences in the fat marbling and quality. Also, there's sure to be variance in processing (this batch was smoked with 7 year old hickory twigs, where that batch was smoked with 9 year old hickory sticks - the wood-to-bark ratio changes the flavor in subtle and mysterious ways...)

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          It's the exact same bacon, but does it taste better?

          It's probably not the exact same bacon. I expect terroir [wikipedia.org] will come into play - minor differences in diet and season may produce obvious differences in the fat marbling and quality. Also, there's sure to be variance in processing (this batch was smoked with 7 year old hickory twigs, where that batch was smoked with 9 year old hickory sticks - the wood-to-bark ratio changes the flavor in subtle and mysterious ways...)

          I can't help but project the cloning of 500 pigs is pointless if you do not raise them on precisely the same diet, same amount, same schedule. Otherwise you could just leave it to nature to create 500 piglets for you.

          • They've already said that they can currently do two implantations per day.

            Assuming we get a 12 piglet litter per implantation, that's a result of 24 piglets per day... so all 500 won't be on the same schedule with the current production methods.

          • I can't help but project the cloning of 500 pigs is pointless if you do not raise them on precisely the same diet, same amount, same schedule. Otherwise you could just leave it to nature to create 500 piglets for you.

            Feeding 500 pigs exactly the same diet, same amount, same schedule is trivial compared to creating 500 cloned pigs. Isn't that how many farmed pigs are fed now?

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      You're going to have to do a lot better than 500 pigs per year. That's a drop in the bucket. When you reach tens of thousands per year get back to me.
      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Yep. My family's small time operation in the 90s produced well over 500 feeder pigs each year - no cloning involved.

      • These 500 pigs must be the second batch to replace the one's they found dead and floating down a river in China a few months ago.

  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:49PM (#45956737)

    We already have enough police officers. We don't need a clone factory.

  • I am fine with cloning. Now heck even for food. Meat is meat. Still I think it is cheaper to take a male pig and a female pig and just raise them the old way and get just as good results for cheaper.

    If you have issues with cloning then you probably should have issues with identical twins.

    • Right in the summary is says these are used for research.

      • Yes, yes, but is it gastronomical or gastrophysical research?
      • by dwywit (1109409)

        Yep, and they'll be valuable for that purpose. I wonder what will happen to that value when the inevitable virus turns up/evolves that the cloned strain of pigs is susceptible to. If the cloned strain makes it out of the research labs and into food production (because the owner of the cloned strain decide they could make a lot of money selling the pigs for food), and one year they all die off because of a new version of swine flu or whatever, then logically the price of pork products will go up and up as de

    • by ApplePy (2703131)

      Except they will be patented... and your bacon price will reflect licensing costs....

    • If you have issues with cloning then you probably should have issues with identical twins.

      I probably have The Shining to thank for my hesitation in embracing cloned bacon!

    • by Knuckles (8964)

      If you have issues with cloning then you probably should have issues with identical twins.

      I would have issues with identical twins if they were industrially produced (and to be eaten no less) and posed a thread to non-cloned reproduction.

      • by icebike (68054)

        If you have issues with cloning then you probably should have issues with identical twins.

        I would have issues with identical twins if they were industrially produced (and to be eaten no less) and posed a thread to non-cloned reproduction.

        At only 500 per year, of even 100 times that, I don't think there is a problem. Remember that they still need to gestated in a pig.
        One boar and several sows can do that without all the drama.

        • by Knuckles (8964)

          I'm not talking of the 500 now, but of where the whole thing shall lead to.

          • by icebike (68054)

            Given the same number of sows, subtract the scientists, the laboratory, the uncertainty, and one boar.

            It will always be cheaper to just breed them.
            The average litter size in pigs is between 8 and 12 piglets per large pig.

            • Until American taste for bacon means that the pigs can't even breed anymore.
              Like for turkey.

              Whether coned bacon would beat inseminated bacon is a question you need to ask to the guy extracting the male contribution...

    • Well, one danger in cloning is that it may hamper the diversity, and therefore may make the pigs more vulnerable to illnesses. This is not so much an issue if it's only animals for research, but if a large number of the animals for food are cloned, it's a real danger.

      After all, there's a reason why animals evolved to use sexual reproduction almost exclusively, although asexual reproduction is much more efficient. Sexual reproduction guarantees that the offspring has sufficiently diverse genetics that the il

      • by mark-t (151149)

        Well, one danger in cloning is that it may hamper the diversity, and therefore may make the pigs more vulnerable to illnesses.

        I saw what you did there...

      • by cusco (717999)

        Keep in mind, these are not food animals but research critters. You don't want the variability of sexual reproduction when you're testing (for example) the effects of different combinations of multi-drug cocktails, or the interaction between different percentages of heavy metal contamination. The people who have created goats that produce desired drugs in their milk have had trouble with the inserted gene being bred out, cloning would prevent that.

      • by Mitsoid (837831)

        However, if you were doing a study on the effects of Drug X on Pigs (or any other animal).. having a dozen genetically identical pigs would be a huge benefit. I imagine it would make the statistical margins smaller.

  • Reminds me the scene from the Star Wars were Obi wan Kanobi is visiting the clone breeding planet... So... Chinese scientist managed to get cloning at the industrial level, hope this is not too expensive. Does anybody know the name of this chinese firm? Can I send my salive and get a copy of myself in 9-10 months? How much that will cost?
    • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:53PM (#45956805)

      Can I send my salive and get a copy of myself in 9-10 months? How much that will cost?

      Might I suggest a half-clone. They're way cheaper and a hell of a lot more fun to make.

      • This is /. While you're statement is true, it's likely impossible for many regular posters.
      • by Njovich (553857)

        Obviously never been married. On both advantages.

      • Also with a clone, when he turns out to be a disappointment you have no one to blame but yourself.
        With a half clone, at least you have plausible deniability

    • Can I send my salive and get a copy of myself in 9-10 months?

      Are you a pig?

      • by icebike (68054)

        Can I send my salive and get a copy of myself in 9-10 months?

        Are you a pig?

        Are you saying the same can't be done with humans?
        Are you sure its not being done already?
        70 to 80 percent success rate is high enough for more than a few women to choose this,
        to say nothing about with a gun to their head.

        • by cusco (717999)

          Considering the successful pregnancy rate of in vitro fertilization is considerably lower (~30%, the last I knew), and considerably more expensive ($10,000 per attempt), their technique might be a boon to infertile couples.

          • by icebike (68054)

            Considering the successful pregnancy rate of in vitro fertilization is considerably lower (~30%, the last I knew), and considerably more expensive ($10,000 per attempt), their technique might be a boon to infertile couples.

            But a great deal of that cost difference is Pigs don't sue. And if you mess up a sow, nobody cares.
            Infertile couples and lesbian couples. There are a hell of a lot more of the latter.

            • by cusco (717999)

              Most lesbian couples will just go for standard artificial insemination, not many go to all the trouble of in vitro because there normally isn't a need for it. In vitro only becomes a consideration when regular inseminations (~60% success rate, about $1000 per attempt) fail repeatedly. For that matter, a lot of them will just have regular sex with a male friend a couple of times and be done with it.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:56PM (#45956833)

    Although it sounds cool, I can't help but being a little weirded out by the thought of the exact same pig being experimented on endlessly throughout time...

    A little like the multiple Ripley clone scene from Alien Resurrection.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      the thought of the exact same pig being experimented on endlessly throughout time...

      For the love of the God-of-Parents, please may it be Pepper Pig!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you think that's a little weird, there's a line of cancerous cells used in research that came from Henrietta Lacks, who died more than 50 years ago.

    • Don't worry, they will all be slaughtered by Arthur Dent.

    • by Cow Jones (615566)

      Although it sounds cool, I can't help but being a little weirded out by the thought of the exact same pig being experimented on endlessly throughout time...

      Would you also feel weird about people experimenting on the exact same human [wikipedia.org] for 63 years and counting, with no end in sight?

      • To me it's just the aspect that it is the whole animal that gives me an odd feeling. It's not at all a rational division/ Just the dividing line that crosses into something seeming odd to me.

    • by arobatino (46791)

      Or the short story Fat Farm [wikipedia.org].

  • by hessian (467078) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:57PM (#45956841) Homepage Journal

    I always wanted a harem.

  • Animals are good at farking. You won't beat that for efficiency.

    Now, whether or not they should be eaten is another matter.

    • yea, but evolution tends to make animals that are better at making more animals... and not make them more tasty and fatter. They'll eventually genetically engineer the perfect pig... 2000lbs of pure fat and bacon... then they'll clone the heck out of that because the damned things wont survive long enough to breed.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Look at dogs, we've churned out lots of species that aren't so good and surviving or reproducing, in order to emphasize cuteness or uniqueness or whatever.
  • Any studies with the effect of eating meat from a genetically-engineered pig ? I know it's for research but cloning pigs for eating could be a temporary solution for over population as everyone knows that the bigger the city the bigger the need for meat. Or you can think of people who need food. this cloning tech could be a solution. Not the best one but better than nothing
    • by bws111 (1216812)

      How is cloning in any way more efficient than traditional breeding? This says they can do 2 implantations a day. I bet a regular pig farm can do way more than that.

      • Cloning increases the repeatability and eliminates the variances in animal research, and thus increases the efficiency of the research being done.

        If you are looking for eating animals – that is a pig of a different color.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          Right. I understand the reason they are doing it (research), but the GP seemed to think that somehow cloning would lead to more food being available.

    • Cloning is not genetic engineering. By definition, the cloned pig is genetically identical (up to the normal mutations that happen during normal grow-up) to the original. If the original one was not genetically modified, then the clone isn't either.

      The effect of eating meat from a genetically engineered pig should depend on what exactly was modified. It may be more healthy (if it was engineered to be), more unhealthy (if it was engineered instead to have an advantage in farming, and the change has an unplan

  • The ability to clone (not specially genetic manipulation, but getting exact copies) should not be very dangerous. And we are doing some sort of it with bananas already, picking the best ones following certain criteria and cloning them. The problem, as with bananas, is that it will have the same vulnerabilities, if they become vulnerable to a particular strain of a disease and the industry becomes too dependant of the cloned ones instead of the "natural" ones.
    • by vakuona (788200)

      Well, it's not the cloning itself that is dangerous. It is what happens when this become the preferred method of producing all of our pigs. There are many strains of banana that are no longer available today because they all became infected with the same bug and well, we couldn't produce banana's that were very nearly like them, but a little different.

      Human being are very adept at creating monocultures, and this is one of the reasons that many parts of the world are now very famine prone. (Famine, not droug

  • In other news, cloning is fun to know how to do, but totally worthless because it has no valid applications.

    You have cloning for food, but, why not just.. grow the meat on scaffolds to eat right then and there? Why clone or grow an entire animal, when you can just grow the meat and body parts you want to eat directly. Also, vegetables are better for people anyway, so why not just abandon meat eating entirely?

    Then there's cloning for sexual gratification. The idea of cloning a women or man for sex, who has t

    • In other news, cloning is fun to know how to do, but totally worthless because it has no valid applications.

      You left out the cloning to eliminate most variables when you give an experimental medical treatment to one animal but not to another. I'm surprised you thought about cloning sex slaves before getting to that one.

      • by strstr (539330)

        Well, cloning even for medical purposes is purposeless. Because medications are all inherently the same, we understand we're just usually blocking receptors and shit in the cells of tissue. They aren't ineffective, mutilate people, and don't cure. They're the biggest waste when it comes to health, but also the only treatment being made because it's so cheap and easy to dispense (magic bullet that doesn't do shit in a pill!). So because I know they do experiments like this a lot, using animals and meds on th

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      Wait, you never heard of 'eliminating variables'?

      • So those pigs are going to solve out algebra problems? ;-)

        [Note to the humour-impaired: No need to educate me what was meant with "eliminating variables", I know it.]

    • by bloodhawk (813939)

      In other news, cloning is fun to know how to do, but totally worthless because it has no valid applications.

      No valid applications?
      Consistent repeatable results in medical testing? eliminates genetic variables which can and do affect results
      producing foods with consistent desirable properties, not sure you have noticed but a good portion of the world is poor and or starving..
      cloning is also excellent research towards the ability to clone body parts for transplants to reduce complications and rejection.
      I am sure there are many many other highly valuable uses for cloning, just because you are too warped to think

  • Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year

    So can Hollywood!

    Haw haw haw!

    So can a World of Warcraft clan!

    So can a university Greek fraternity or sorority system!

    Wait, wait! So can a biennial Congressional election!

    etc.

  • "If it tastes good, you should sequence it"

    Fast forward 100 years and all livestock is cloned into 'taste-families': you can define the general palette of tastes you enjoy, and they produce it.

    OK, maybe only 30 years...

  • The next morning, there in the web, neatly woven, were the words SOME PIGS!

  • The original pig for the cloning was hired by a man named Tyranus.
    • This is what I absolutely hate about both /. & wikishite.
      Nope, I'm not going to explain; if you have to ask you don't understand!
  • This is going to put the Kardashian family out of business.,

  • Just wait till they start cloning (160+ IQ) Jayne Mansfields [northcyprusfreepress.com] as a tourist attraction to their cloned cities like Hallstatt [news24.com].

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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