A ‘low allergy’ milk from genetically modified cow

PTI London | Updated on October 02, 2012 Published on October 02, 2012

Scientists have engineered a genetically modified cow that produces milk that is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

The modified cow produced milk lacks beta-lactoglobulin - a major whey protein of cow and sheep’s milk, to which some people are allergic.

The study has been dubbed as a “milestone” by scientists.

However, some campaign groups say it raises ethical concerns, the ‘BBC News’ reported.

There are important differences between a woman’s breast milk and cows’ milk, such as beta—lactoglobulin, which is found in milk from cows but not people.

“It is not surprising that it constitutes a major milk allergen,” researchers from the University Waikato in New Zealand said.

The instructions for making the beta—lactoglobulin protein are contained in genes in the cow’s DNA.

The scientists’ added extra genetic material to disrupt the manufacturing process using a technique called RNA interference.

The resulting calf was born without a tail; however, the researchers say that is “unlikely” to be because of the genetic modification.

It has not yet become pregnant and produced milk normally so the scientists used hormones to jump—start milk production.

“All milk samples from the transgenic calf were devoid of any detectable beta—lactoglobulin,” they said.

The researchers concluded that the technique was an “efficient tool” for modifying livestock.

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Published on October 02, 2012
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