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Genetic Crossroads
November 26th, 2002

1. ACT human cloning expert resigns

The lead scientist on the project that claimed to have created the first cloned human embryos is resigning. Jose Cibelli, vice-president for research at Advanced Cell Technology (Worcester, MA, USA), has accepted an appointment as professor of animal biotechnology at Michigan State University (Lansing, MI, USA). ACT, which like many other biotechnology firms has been financially struggling, could not match an offer from MSU. Michigan state law bans all human cloning procedures, whether for research or reproductive purposes. ACT says that its human cloning project will resume after it raises $10 million and finds a replacement for Cibelli.

For more information, see Antonio Regalado, “Cloning Pioneer Abandons Project,” The Wall Street Journal (November 11, 2002)

For more on ACT and the biotechnology industry, see http://www.genetics-and-society.org/politics/biotech.html

2. Confusion at ‘Missyplicity’ dog cloning project

The primary source of funding for a major university-based project to clone pet animals has been withdrawn. Arizona businessman John Sperling ended his $3.7 million support of the animal cloning project at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Instead, Sperling will invest $9 million in Genetics Savings and Clone, a company he founded as a for-profit pet cloning operation. Although the so-called ‘Missyplicity project' at A&M – named for Sperling’s dog Missy – produced the world's first cloned cat earlier this year, it failed to successfully clone a dog. Sperling and Genetic Savings and Clone will reportedly redirect their financial support of pet cloning to researchers in California. Meanwhile, the A&M lab will focus on livestock cloning and seek other funding sources.

For report, see: Kerry Fehr-Snyder, “Millionaire Transfers Dog-Cloning Grant,” The Arizona Republic (November 15, 2002)

For more on pet cloning, see http://www.genetics-and-society.org/politics/promodeveloping/pet.html


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