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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 26-30

Genomics and Ethics: The Case of Cloned and/or Transgenic Animals

Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement et Biotechnologies, INRA, Domaine de Vilvert, 78 352 Jouy-en-Josas cedex, France

Received 7 September 2002; Accepted 29 November 2002

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The point of the present study is to illustrate and, if possible, promote the existing link between genomics and ethics, taking the example of cloned and transgenic animals. These ‘new animals’ raise theoretical and practical problems that concern applied ethics. We will explore more particularly an original strategy showing that it is possible, starting from philosophical questioning about the nature of identity, to use a genomic approach, based on amplification fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) detection, to provide useful tools to define more rigorously what cloned animals are, by testing their genetic and epigenetic identity. We expect from the future results of this combined approach to stimulate the creativity of the philosophical and ethical reflection about the impact of biotechnology on animals, and to increase scientific involvement in such issues.