From Bio Journal - October 2009

MAFF requests voluntary restraint of distribution of cloned livestock food products

On 26 August 2009, MAFF requested that former MAFF research institutes (now independent administrative bodies) governors of prefectures, national universities and so on exercise voluntary restraint in distributing somatic cell cloned livestock food products to the market (See BJ September 2009). The reasons for this, although the Food Safety Commission has concluded that food products from such livestock are safe for consumption, are that consumer understanding may be difficult to obtain and that these livestock are still undergoing trials. US cloned livestock products already on the market are not subject to this voluntary restraint.

MEXT working group hears report on current state of production of mouse reproductive cells

A meeting of the MEXT working group considering the pros and cons of the production of reproductive cells from so-called pluripotent cells such as human iPS [induced pluripotent stem] cells held a hearing with Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine Professor SAITO Michinori on 17 August 2009 (See BJ September 2009). In February 2009, the working group finalized a report containing the basic policy of approval only for production of reproductive cells, and is now discussing the conditions and so on at the time of production of these cells.

Prof. Saito, a specialist in the differentiation and reproductive functions of reproductive cells, reported on the current state of research into the production of reproductive cells from mice. Following implantation of an embryo, a conglomeration of cells called the epiblast (primitive ectoderm) is removed and cultured. Success has been achieved in producing sperm by implanting this into the testes of male mice. Thus it is theoretically possible to produce sperm simply by producing an epiblast from pluripotent cells. Prof. Saito stated the opinion that the production of reproductive cells from human iPS and other cells should be approved in order to carry out a gbiological elucidation of the cells that control human genes.h

Organ transplant clone GM pig born in ROK

According to an announcement by the Regional Development Agency of South Korea, a somatic cell cloned GM pig for use in the provision of human organs such as the heart for human transplants has been born in South Korea (ROK) (See BJ January 2006). Scientists have been working on this project with government support, and this development will make it possible to mass produce the GM organ transplant pig.
(The Korea Times 2009/08/11)

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