CHINA - Chinese scientists have signed a deal to establish the largest commercial animal cloning centre in the world, in the northern port city of Tianjin.
China's national press agency Xinhua reported that the facility will clone animals including sniffer and pet dogs, beef cattle and racehorses.
The plant will be located in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA), a government-sponsored business development park. Its main building is already under construction and due to be put into use in the first half of 2016, sources told Xinhua on Monday.
Sinica, a subsidiary of Boyalife Group, which focuses on stem cell and regenerative medicine, signed the agreement with the TEDA on Friday.
It will produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year initially, eventually increasing to 1 million, said Xu Xiaochun, board chairman of Boyalife Group, based in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province.
Chinese farmers are struggling to produce enough beef cattle to meet market demand, Mr Xu said.
The centre, the largest such facility worldwide, will also include a gene storage area and a museum, he added.
China's first commercial cloning company was established in September 2014 in the eastern Shandong Province with the birth of three pure-blooded Tibetan mastiff puppies. The firm is a joint venture between Boyalife and Sooam Biotech.
Chinese scientists have already been cloning sheep, cattle and pigs since 2000, but prior to this, cloning in China had been limited to scientific research.
With an investment of 200 million yuan (31 million US dollars), the centre will be jointly built by Sinica, Peking University's Institute of Molecular Medicine, the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biomedicine, and the Republic of Korea's Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
TheCattleSite News Desk