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The Food and Drag Administration (FDA) has just launched two salvos in federal agencies' war against biotechnology by attacking various manifestations of the biological process called cloning, in which a mature cell--from the skin, for example--from the animal (or human) to be copied is inserted into an egg whose nucleus has been removed. The resulting embryo is then implanted into a surrogate mother that carries the fetus to term.
In response to public claims by two groups that they are attempting to produce a human baby using the cloning technology used to create Dolly the sheep and other animals, a senior FDA official in March threatened to shut down any such attempts. Dr. Kathryn Zoon, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, testified that "FDA views the use of cloning technology to clone a human being as a cause for public health concern," and assured members of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that "FDA would not permit any such investigation to proceed."
More recently, the agency told companies that clone livestock that neither the duplicated animals nor their offspring may enter the food chain. Officials at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine have said they consider these genetically identical cattle and pigs--analogous to Dolly, the first cloned mammal--to be "experimental," and therefore not …