A Review of Potential Analytical Approaches for Detecting Cloned Animals and their Offspring in the Food Chain
This report provides an overview of the process of animal cloning and reviews the current scientific knowledge pertaining to genetic anomalies and biomarkers that may be characteristic of cloned animals. Such biomarkers, if sufficiently robust and distinct from those present in naturally conceived animals, may be applied for detecting food products derived from cloned animals and their offspring in the food chain. In summary, four different types of biomarker (telomerase length/activity, epigenetic modifications, gene expression and protein expression) have been studied to varying degrees in cloned animals. However, to date such studies have been limited in size and scope and have often resulted in conflicting findings. Therefore, at this point in time reproducible traits discriminatory for healthy adult cloned animals cannot be defined. Further scientific research on larger numbers of cloned animals will be required before consensus among the scientific community as to the validity of potential biomarkers can be reached.