China Clones Pigs and Sequences “Cute Animals” on an Industrial Scale

A company in southern China is playing God big time

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A researcher demonstrates the process to clone a pig in a laboratory in National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, central Taiwan, February 6, 2013.

China is cloning animals and sequencing genes on an unparalleled scale, producing as many as 500 genetically copied pigs a year, according to a BBC News report.

Cloning company BGI runs a facility in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, operating five times as many gene sequencing machines as its nearest European counterpart. BGI’s chief executive Wang Jun told BBC that they focus on three categories of species: those that taste good, that could be beneficial for industrial use, and those that are cute.

“Anything that looks cute: panda, polar bear, penguin, you should really sequence it — it’s like digitalizing all the wonderful species,” he said.

Jun also added that BGI’s research could help combat hunger and protein deficiency.