In Brief
Chinese company Boyalife Group is set to start cloning cows later this year, but they say that they have the technology to do even more.
China’s Cloning Industry

The Boyalife Group, responsible for building the world’s largest cloning factory, says that it already has the technology needed for human replication, and that it is only holding back due to public perception.

The group is currently building the massive plant along the port of Tianjin, China, which is expected to begin production within the coming months. Output is aimed at one million cows cloned every year by the year 2020.

But according to chief executive Xu Xiaochun, the group’s activities won’t stop at just cloning cattle. While the factory intends to produce thoroughbred racehorses and dogs, it is also working with a South Korean partner along with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in improving their primate cloning capacity.

From there, it’s not hard to imagine the next step in cloning technology: humans. “The technology is already there,” says Xu. “If this is allowed, I don’t think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology.”

The Future of Biodiversity

Xu maintains that they are not currently engaged in human cloning activities. This is largely due to fear of adverse public reaction. But Xu points out that social values are subject to change, particularly in terms of people having more a choice in reproduction.

“Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad,” said Xu. “You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100 percent from Daddy or 100 percent from Mummy. This is only a choice.”

Xu presents cloning as a safeguard of biodiversity with the Tianjin facility to house a gene bank that will be able to hold up to five million samples in liquid nitrogen. This will serve as a catalogue of endangered species in hopes of regenerating them in the future.