Science

Human breast milk produced by genetically modified cows

Scientists have successfully obtained human breast milk from genetically altered cattle (Photo: Roger Cornfoot)
Scientists have successfully obtained human breast milk from genetically altered cattle (Photo: Roger Cornfoot)
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Scientists have successfully obtained human breast milk from genetically altered cattle (Photo: Roger Cornfoot)
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Scientists have successfully obtained human breast milk from genetically altered cattle (Photo: Roger Cornfoot)

According to a recent report on Sky News, Chinese scientists have created a herd of 300 transgenic dairy cattle, all of which have been genetically modified to produce human breast milk. While the milk is still undergoing government testing, the researchers reportedly hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The cattle were created at China's Agricultural University, in Beijing. Human breast milk genes were inserted into cloned cow embryos, which were in turn implanted into surrogate cows.

The milk is claimed to taste stronger and sweeter than cow milk, and to have better antibacterial and immune-boosting qualities. It could be marketed as a more nutritious alternative for consumers.

While many of us might find the thought of such genetic alterations to be unsettling, particularly when they involve food products, the scientists involved in the study apparently aren't overly concerned. "There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don't get enough to eat," project director Prof. Li Ning was quoted as saying. "It's our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions."

China's Agricultural University has also produced cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease, and that produce more nutritious meat.

Source: Sky News

12 comments
Michael Mantion
I am fine with GM but this is creepy
Mr T
Yep, this is wrong on so many levels, aside from the usual dairy industry evilness (cows make milk because they have been pregnant, not because we ask them nicely, basically, they are made pregnant, they give birth and then the calves are killed at or before 5 days old so that humans can have the milk meant for them, how sick is that). Don\'t believe dairy is bad? Google it, there\'s heaps of info out there...
Mr Stiffy
Yes I am sure the cows are thrilled, as is the species.
Scion
\"You promised me dog or higher!\" :) If they tried to sell it in supermarkets as \"Human breast milk from a cow\" I think I\'d be a little put off. But if it was call \"SuperMilk (tm)\" I might be more interested.
Patrick Coffey
agreed.
VirtualGathis
Having a child who had to be NICU raised and seen how many mothers can not provide their own milk as well as the research showing how formula, which is cow milk based, fed babies have so many developmental delays etc this could could offer a huge benefit. As to feeding grown people this would deal with lactose intolerance.... so as creepy as it sounds I\'m for it.
alcalde
Now I\'m going to have nightmares of genetically engineered Chinese cows luring my 5-month-old nephew and other children off like the pied piper!
Michael Mantion
Virtual it is possible to have women as wet nurses, they used them until recently. Its not ideal but its better then this.
Slowburn
Mr T--- Would you prefer hormonal manipulation, rather than producing veal? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I do not eat food products for totalitarian countries, if I can avoid it. I also question the safety of genetic modification using current techniques, even from the first world. Lets keep the cows isolated for a few generations before we start human consumption of the milk, or meat. For the time being wet nurses sound like a much better idea.
Not7Footer
Mmmmmm, got any oreos?
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