Cloned Reloaded (Something troubling)

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by JeffNY, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    First off, we all know its been done, and it is being done, and there are cows in the country that are clones. My big issue isn't with the cloning process, but what could happen because of it.


    On Cowtalk, there are many that seem to support it, and do not express the concern I have with it. As it stands, currently without cloning, there are bulls who have come about due to inbreeding. Two of the bulls are Damion and Drake, both are holstein bulls. The Jersey breed is highly inbred as well, something around 16-20% inbreeding coef. With the Jersey breed, it is hard to do, because there aren't as many to keep away from it somewhat. The holstein breed averages around 5-6% for their inbreeding coef. Now that I set a base, and the base being inbreeding, ill dive into my concern.

    Now the whole idea of cloning is to duplicate one of these great cows or once was, bulls. Currently there are a couple bulls in existence, with their semen available in South America. Now lets bring in the Buyers and sellers. Seller A has the cow, she is a deep pedigreed cow. She is known world wide, and in turn he has her cloned. Approx 9 months later, the clone is born. The clone is raised and sold, then she calves at 2yrs. She is classified, and as a couple years pass, she scores the same as her orginal (cant say dam, because a clone isn't a embyro). Since she is the clone, she carries the same pedigree. So when Buyer A bought this clone, he had the intentions to flush her. So when he saw she was as good as the original, he flushes her. She has a decent flush, 8 fertilized embyros. Out of the 8, he gets 5. Of the 5, 2 are bulls, 3 are heifers. He knows the value of these animals, and a big AI company becomes interested in using him. He is sold, and drawn. As a young sire he is used extensivly, and then gets a proof as his daughters calve out.


    I skipped a few steps, and that would sound normal. However lets disect it. While the clone in her own right wont hurt anything, her progeny can. I am not sure what the guidelines are with clones, but with ET's, since you are the owner, you can name the ET with your prefix. Saying you can do the same thing, the clone without looking closely, seems like a normal animal. Now the orginal also has some bulls out in service (see where I am going with this?). Those bulls also have a different prefix. So here we have bulls, from the same family, the only difference being that the bulls sires are different. Now some of those daughters are bred to the bulls from the clone. What you end up with is an inbred animal. It is done with a different approach. Now any heifers from this breeding could go on to be bred as well. After a while, the influence from this clone would spread like wildfire, the influence through her progeny, and there after. The royal family in England used to "keep it in the family", they ended up with genetic problems in their family, because of the inbreeding. The same thing will happen if the clones aren't used in a responsible way.

    The question does remain, will there be a suffix? Or will the registration paper say where it says "100% RHA". It says "100% RHA CLONE", so there isn't any confusion. If a bull from a clone did sire 1000 daughters, the chances of some of those daughters being bred to the orginal's progeny (bull), would be likely. Clones do pose a big risk, and because some big shot wants a piece of an animal, its going on. However there are things can make a clone, not as exact, and inferior in some ways to its original. For example, where the clone develops, perhaps the recip doesn't eat as well, perhaps she is a stressed animal. These factors can play a role in how the clone can turn out. Take a look at an ET. They do look very similar, and should, considering your using the same sire and dam. However, they are different in some ways. I saw two, side by side in a magazine. The difference I noticed was with their rear legs. The one clone had thicker legs than the other, otherwise they were almost exact.

    So a clone can be genetically Identical, however depending how its raised, will depend whether or not it develops into something as good. You could feed a deep pedigreed calf, one that is almost guarenteed to classify well, and ruin that calf. All you do is underfeed it, or overfeed it, and you wont get the animal she could have been. The thing is, will anyone realise this? If they want that super cow, in a cloned package, they will have to control everything down to a T, or you wont get your "super cow".


    Jeff
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's called line breeding, and the reason the royals are so messed up is that they didn't cull properly.
     

  3. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    Jeff, I never though of it that way- thanks for sharing the info.
     
  4. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Jeff--
    your concern about the "pedigree" of a cloned animal actually reflects, in a way, some valid concern about the the health of the cloned genetics. When "Dolly" was born, the world "oohed" and "ahhed" over her. The "science fiction" writers of years ago had already identified the issue with cloning and DNA health. Dolly actually helped show, in real life, the issues that can develope.

    Though I don't like dealing with pedigrees except to find a COI, certainly, the COI of a cloined animal IS 100%. I used to joke that my old Irish setter was more related to his paternal grandsire than his sire was. See, his rgandsire's name showed up 17 times in a 7 generatione pedigree-- and the 7th generation back was two generations before the foundation for the kennel he came from!

    For some reason, 'higher' animal DNA does not do well when it is forced to replicate itself withut frtesh material. In Dolly, it was found, that once she "matured" her cellular tissues were the same "age" as her "mother's" In other words, the two year old "lamb" had 7 year old tissues. Now that is why you would worry about how feeding and care would affect the clones of a supercow (or bull, for that matter) Your concerns about the prefixes and suffixes, in a way, actually address some ethical issues.
     
  5. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

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    I'm trying to fully understand your concerns here. Am I wrong to believe that even a pair of cloned calves,same as ET, will have differences such as one having a bit thicker hind leg than the other clone?
    In the early days of AI, people feared the reduction of gene pool would hurt the dairy industry. Didn't happen. With the advent of ET, increasing the prodigy of a cow from 5-6 to hundreds, there were concerns that the ovim from "lesser" cattle wouldn't be maintained in the gene pool and those "super cows" would be the only lines left. Doesn't seem that it has had any effect at all.
    As we enter this latest stage of cattle reproduction, we must maintain perspective. Very few of the cattle, in any breed, are the result of ET and even fewer are expected to be the result of cloning. While there will always be a few people engaged to breeding the very best to the very best, its effects on the industry will remain small, weither it is line breeding live cover, line breeding ET or clone to clone. Any genitic problems would be much more obvious in such close breedings and could then be culled quickly, instead of the traditional way, using smaller groups of cows, when a problem shows up 7 generations later.
     
  6. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Some bulls have had a huge impact on the holstein breed, and there are bulls that have had an impact on the Jersey breed. A bull named Comestar Outside has over 50,000 daughters. That is a HUGE influence, considering how many farms are in the country, and the fact there would be calves from those daughters. If a bull from a clone, a "linebred", or as I like to call it, inbred bull has as big of an influence, upwards of 50,000+ daughters, he would have an impact. Starbuck I beleive has made a big impact on the holstein breed. But a big on is Blackstar. If you have a strong enough cloned family, that has been bred without much care, you could end up with problems. Sure there wont be clones everywhere, but there will be people that was a piece of a famous cow family, and do whatever it takes to do so. Then capatilize off it, then figure a way to market without it being attached to a clone.


    Jeff