Chinese scientists have agreed to establish the world’s biggest commercial animal cloning center in the port city of Tianjin in China.
The $31-million facility, scheduled to open next year, will clone animals including sniffer and pet dogs, beef cattle and racehorses. The center will also include a gene storage area and a museum.
The center will be located in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA), a government-sponsored business development park. Construction on the main building is already in progress. The facility is expected to become operational in the first half of 2016.
The project will be jointly built by Boyalife Group subsidiary Sinica, Peking University’s Institute of Molecular Medicine, the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biomedicine, and the Republic of Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
Xu Xiaochun, board chairman of Wuxi, China-based Boyalife Group, says that the center will produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year. The center plans to increase its production to one million cloned cows a year by 2020.
The factor will also focus on racehorses, pet and police dogs, specialized in searching and sniffing, according to Xu, who noted that the Chinese farmers are struggling to produce enough beef cattle to meet growing market demands.
Previously, scientists were able to successfully clone mice, cattle and other animals. The world’s first cloned sheep Dolly was born on July 5, 1996 in Britain. During last 15 years, Chinese scientists have cloned sheep, cattle and pigs. However, the plant will not do human cloning, according to Xu.
In China, first commercial cloning company was established in September 2014 in the eastern Shandong Province with the birth of three pure-blooded Tibetan mastiff puppies.
More and more companies in China are taking interest to invest in the cloning technology for commercial use, especially animal husbandry. Prior to this, cloning in China had been limited to scientific research.