Published by the Annals of the American Academy of Sciences, the study is the first to investigate the nutritional value and possible health risks of products from animal clones.

  

"We conclude that most parameters of the composition of the meat and milk from somatic animal clones were not significantly different from those of their genetically matched comparators or industry breed comparators," Xiangzhong Yang, head biologist from the Centre for Regenerative Biology at the University of Connecticut, who took part in the study, said. 

  

"All parameters examined in this study were within the normal range of beef and dairy products approved for human consumption," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

  

Public concerns

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorised the sale of beef and dairy products from animal clones in the US, after it publicly raised concerns in 2003 on the possible health risks of such products.

  

The FDA recently announced it would soon publish its safety evaluation of cloned food products.

  

"All parameters examined in this study were within the normal range of beef and dairy products approved for human consumption"

Xiangzhong Yang,
Head Biologist,
Centre for Regenerative Biology,
University of Connecticut

In 2002, the American Academy of Sciences concluded that products from cloned animals should not pose health risks to humans, although it noted the few studies conducted on the matter.

  

Researchers from the University of Connecticut and the Kagoshima Reproductive Institute of Japan analysed and compared about 100 parameters such as proteins, fat density, antibodies and lactose in more than 1000 samples of meat and milk from cloned and non-cloned animals.

 

The cloned milk came from four clones of a 13-year-old Holstein cow, while the cloned beef came from two clones of a 17-year-old Japanese black bull.

  

Acknowledging the political sensitivity of cloned animal products, Yang noted that the study "was conducted with a relatively small number of dairy and beef clones and the clones of each breed were derived from a single genetic source".