Further Advice on the Implications of Animal Cloning (SCNT)


European Food Safety Authority

The European Food Safety Authority wishes to thank Andras Dinnyés, Louis-Marie
Houdebine, Heiner Niemann, David Morton and Jean-Paul Renard for peer-reviewing the

Statement of EFSA
Question Number
23 June 2009
26 June 2009
Last Updated
24 November 2009. This version replaces the previous one/s.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Article (154.45 KB)154.45 KB

The European Food Safety Authority received in March 2009 a request from the European Commission to expand and further deepen the underlying details related to the recommendations included in the animal cloning opinion of July 2008 (EFSA Journal (2008) 747, 1-49). The request was for EFSA to focus in particular on the health and welfare of animal clones and the recommendations related to investigation of the causes of pathologies and mortality observed in clones during the gestational and postnatal periods and those observed at a lower frequency in adulthood and the health and welfare of clones during their productive life and natural life span. In addition the European Commission requested to know to what extent the current knowledge applies to cloning of sheep, goats and chicken.

A number of scientific publications have been published since the EFSA 2008 opinion indicating that Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is an active field both regarding basic and applied research. Most publications have studied embryonic or early development or methodological developments and there are only a few publications and studies on postnatal or adult animals. If the success rate of the epigenetic reprogramming is improved it is likely that the pathologies and mortalities observed in a proportion of clones would decrease. 
There is still not sufficient data on species other than cattle and pigs to perform a risk assessment.

This statement confirms that the conclusions and recommendations of the EFSA 2008 opinion are still valid.