Friday, June 10, 2011
Scientists launch rival claims over cows that produce mothers’ milk
June 10, 2011
SCIENTISTS in two countries looked set to lock horns today over who had produced the world’s first human milk … from cows.
An Argentine laboratory announced yesterday that it had created the world’s first transgenic cow, using human genes that will allow the animal to produce the equivalent of mothers’ milk.
The claim came only days after reports emerged from China saying scientists there had genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk and hoped to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.
The researchers at the Agricultural University in Beijing said they had a 300-strong herd of transgenic cows, which had been bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows.
However, AFP reported that Argentina’s National Institute of Agrobusiness Technology said of their research, “The cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates human genes that contain the proteins present in human milk.”
Rosita ISA was born on April 6 by caesarian because she weighed more than 99 pounds (45kg), about twice the normal weight of Jersey cows, according to the statement.
As an adult, “the cow will produce milk that is similar to humans,” the statement said.
In China, workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety.
“It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao, according to Sky News. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”
The scientists there said they have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat.