Cloned hamburgers?

The Pink Tentacle, that oracle of the Japanese technology front, brings us news of recent cloning controversies in Japan.  Apparently, researchers have been able to successfully clone the prize bull who founded the Hida beef franchise.  (No, I don’t know what Hida beef is, but apparently it is yummy.  And expensive.)  The bull died in 1993 after having sired over 40,000 calves (impressive!) and has now been resurrected, presumably to continue producing tasty offspring.  The controversy comes into play in the form of consumer distrust of cloned food products.  There is currently a study being conducted by the Japanese Cabinet Office’s Food Safety Commission (good to know the Japanese have governmental agencies with ridiculously long and unwieldy names too – I suppose that is a side effect of any bureacracy) about the safety of cloned food products that will help determine the fate of these clones.  In the meantime, the Japanese government has requested (?) that the companies working on cloned beef voluntarily (??) take measures to keep it out of the food supply.  (Somehow I don’t think it would go down that way in the US.)

Now, aside from the fact that cloned food is apparently way closer than most people realize, the thing I find most interesting about this is that scientists were able to successfully clone an animal that had been in deep-freeze for more than 15 years.  Maybe all those nuts who had themselves cryogenically frozen weren’t so nutty after all.


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