China's Cloning Factory Could One Day Produce Humans On Demand

A large factory where humans could be produced on mass according to commercial demand - no, this is not a spoiler for Hollywood's next science fiction blockbuster. This is science in action.

Chinese scientists are set to open the world's largest animal cloning centre in the northern port city of Tianjin.

Boyalife, the group launching the factory, say it will go into production over the next ten years with a goal of producing over one million cloned cows by 2020.

As part of their longterm ambition, the centre's scientists also plan to clone primates in an effort to aid animal research.

However, their methods will attract criticism as the technology could one day give them the power to clone humans.

Chief executive, Xu Xiaochun, told AFP: “The technology is already there.

“If this is allowed, I don’t think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology.”

While Xiaochun was quick to stress that human cloning is not taking place currently, he did explain how the research could also pave the way for three-parent babies.

"Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad," he said.

Boyalife is working with a South Korean partner, Sooam Biotech, which has attracted its own fair share of controversy in the past.

Its founder, Hwang Woo-suk, was hailed as a hero when he claimed to have successfully cloned the first human embryo in 2004.

However, he was later stripped of his university position after it emerged that he had faked his research and used questionable practices to obtain eggs from donors.

Describing his involvement with the Chinese cloning venture, he reportedly said: “We have decided to locate the facilities in China in case we enter the phase of applying the technology to human bodies."