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FDA announcement welcomed by Celentis subsidiary

Clone International, a subsidiary of local commercial science company Celentis, is delighted with the USA Food and Drug Administration's announcement that milk and meat from cloned animals look set to be cleared for human consumption.

Australian-based Clone International is one of the world's top three companies in the production of cloned animals for agricultural breeding purposes and the only one with licenses to operate in New Zealand and Australia.

"This is not an unexpected finding by the FDA, and what it means is that consumers in both domestic and international markets are likely to be more accepting of cloning as a breeding tool. Clones are similar to natural identical twin animals," says Dr Stewart Washer, chief executive officer of Celentis.

"Celentis and its parent company AgResearch have been working with Clone International on its cloning reproduction programme since 2001," says Dr. Washer. "With joint venture partners, Ambreed New Zealand and RAB Australia, it has Australasia's top three, proven Fresian bulls in its portfolio, with nine fertile, genetic copies. On the back of FDA approval, the company is very well-positioned to take on international markets like Asia, the UK and Europe," he says.

Richard Fry is Clone International's chief executive and is happy with the progress being made.

"We have been expecting a positive outcome from the FDA and this is a good step towards that. Consumers need to be comfortable that there is no genetic modification involved, and that cloned animals will be used for breeding purposes only. Only their offspring will enter the food chain further down the track," he says.

Clone International has been observing a self-imposed, voluntary moratorium and expects any launch into the Australasian consumer market at least 12 months away.

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