Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Cost of Genes

$AU56, 000 is the amount a man is willing to pay to potentially prolong his success with bull-fighting (SMH Mar 2, 2008). In March 2009, Victoriano del Rio will be the first Spaniard to be in possession of a cloned fighting bull (Yahoo News, Feb 23, 2008).

Stem cells extracted from del Rio’s stud Alcalde will be sent to genetics firm Viagen in Texas, where the embryo will be produced (SMH Mar 2, 2008).

So what would inspire a man to spend such a large quantity of money on a single bull's genes? Simply; more money. Alcalde has substantially benefitted his master financially through his performance in the bull ring with his "brave style, outstanding horns, good fighting attitude" (del Rio, March 2nd). This Spaniard isn’t alone in this respect however. Viagen claims to have genetically replicated 300 animals, many of which being successful bulls of US rodeos (Yahoo News, Feb 23, 2008).

So in the twenty-first century we’ve effectively reached a point where the quintessentially natural process of reproduction is being controversially exploited for material gain.

16-year-old Alcalde, left.

Picture: Reuters (SMH Mar 2, 2008)

For further reading...
Written by Sebastian Whittle

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