Cloning: This Little Pig Went to Market

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From the people that brought you Dolly the Sheep and the people that brought you 50 cloned mice comes a new project: genetically engineered pigs. PPL Therapeutics in Edinburgh, Scotland, is teaming up with ProBio America for the potentially lucrative purpose of cloning pigs for animal-to-human transplants. "We are going to see if we can make their technique -- the Honolulu technique, used with mice -- work with pigs," said PPL chief Dr. Ron James.

Conceding defeat in the clone wars, James admitted that ProBio's microinjection method of cloning was "quite a bit more efficient" than the method used to create Dolly. The famous sheep, after all, was born only after 287 failed attempts at stimulating embryos. By contrast, scientists at Honolulu made cloning mice look like baking cookies.

Creating pigs with transplantable organs could mean big business for the two firms -- at least 50,000 Americans are on the waiting list for a transplant. But there's another, more ominous implication: If the Honolulu technique is able to produce cloned pigs as well as mice, it's more likely to work with humans, too. Put your order in now.