The Clone Star State

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WASHINGTON: Human clones bad, cow clones with human genes good. That was the word from Washington Wednesday, as the FDA promised to shut down anyone who tries to clone people without permission -- while the birth of bovine duplicates on a Texas ranch passed without incident.

The human cloning controversy was touched off by maverick physicist Richard Seed and his plans for a clone clinic. Now FDA investigators are tracking down Seed to remind him that federal regulations require him to apply for agency approval.

Approval is, of course, highly unlikely, and not only because Seed has no previous experience in the area. For doctors James Robl and Steven Stice and all the boys at the Ultimate Genetics ranch, however, cloning is a matter of fact. While cloned calves Charlie and George don't have human genes in their milk, Robl and Stice say the next ones will. Perhaps the FDA's beef should really be with these guys.