Clone-burgers could be on the menu at American fast food restaurants within two or three years, it has been claimed.
But there is no early prospect of meat from cloned animals reaching dining tables in Britain and the rest of Europe, say experts.
Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, was born at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh more than 10 years ago.
Since then research into animal cloning has developed rapidly. Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, dogs and cats have all been cloned, as well as laboratory animals such as mice and rats.
Up to now all cloning has been carried out for scientific research.
However experts believe it is only a matter of time before it becomes a commercial farming practice, and meat or milk from clones or their offspring is approved for human consumption.
In the US the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying the implications of farmyard cloning for six years.
A draft report from the FDA recently concluded that edible products from cloned animals presented no additional risks to public.
Dr Simon Best, chairman of the BioIndustry Association, believes it will not be long before cloned pork or beef, or, more likely, meat from the offspring of clones, is on sale in the US.
Speaking with other experts at a briefing in London, he said: ‘I think it’s very likely that millions of Brits will be eating hamburgers or bacon from cloned animals or their progeny in two or three years, but in America.’
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