Experts involved in Giant Panda research and protection oppose clone of the rare creature. They said cloning can only duplicate an individual animal, but cannot help improve the creature’s protection relying on its hereditary diversity.
Though some scientists hold that as a scientific experiment, Giant Panda cloning is acceptable, the majority of experts in this field strongly oppose this practice. The vice-president and the secretary-general of the China Wildlife Protection Association (CWPA) stated that, as a government-supported organization, the CWPA opposes Giant Panda cloning and will not provide any kind of live organs for such researches.
Some experts from southwest China’s Sichuan Province, hometown of Giant Panda, said cloning is not unacceptable in terms of scientific experiment, but the key point is whether the technology can save this animal species. It is unrealistic to believe that Giant Panda can be saved once its clone succeeds. It exaggerates the function of cloning.
Their opinion is based on the following reasons:
The technology of Giant Panda cloning is immature, especially in hetero-cloning -- letting one creature’s embryo develops in another creature’s womb. Experiments on other livestock showed that the embryo usually stops growing when it develops to blastulas. The problem remains unsolved.
The successful rate of clones is very low and there is yet none successful case of hetero-clone.
Endangered species as Giant Panda cannot be saved even if the technology of cloning, including hetero-cloning, is perfected, because it only copies an individual creature and will not help improve the species’ hereditary diversity. Considering current situation, it is more practical to concentrate on the protection of Giant Pandas, either in their birthplace or in other places.
(China.org.cn by Feng Yikun, January 17, 2003)