In fact, Infigen has a 70 to 85 percent embryo failure rate, according to company vice president Peter Steinerman. However, he says, "Infigen's cloned calves have no more birth defects than does a dairy herd bred in the normal way."
Infigen claims that its 150 cloned cows make up the world's largest herd of bovine clones; its sister company, Genus, claims to be the world's largest artificial cattle-breeding business. Infigen also has a line of experimental cloned transgenic pigs and cows for use in medical and pharmaceutical research. Transgenic clones contain genetic material from another species; some of Infigen's clones contain human genes.
The cloned cows at the zoo do not contain human genes. Streater and Fisher say they'd like to get one of those to foster further public discussion, but they expect Infigen might not want to loan out such an extremely valuable animal.
News intern Nick Wunder contributed research for this story.