China will soon be home to the largest animal cloning facility in the world, where everything from cattle to domestic pets will be factory-engineered starting in 2016.
A subsidiary of Boyalife, a biotech conglomerate with operations spanning 16 Chinese provinces, will be leading the operation alongside South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation and two other Chinese research institutions.
Pending an injection of 200 million Yuan, or $31 million, the facility will begin with production of Japanese cows, which according to Dr. Xu Xiaochun, chairman and CEO of Boyalife, might help control the price of beef in the Chinese market.
Speaking with Chinese media, Dr. Xiaochun said: [We are] now promoting cloned cows and cloned horses to improve China’s modern animal husbandry industry.”
A cloning factory might seem like an especially grim, biological assembly-line that easily dips into nightmare territory, but a large part of the enterprise factors into studying disease and improving livestock breeding. China is no stranger to large-scale contagions disrupting its dairy industry.
Xu has said that studying “disease models,” or animals predisposed to certain illnesses, will be a primary aim of scientists involved, so large outbreaks might be stymied in the future.
The facility will contain a gene bank, a science education exhibit hall, and a cloned animal center. Sooam, the South Korean biotech corporation supplying a helping hand to Boyalife, has been in the for-profit business of cloning dogs since 2005.