New Source of Human Breast Milk: Cows?

Genetic engineers in China face criticism from health, animal advocates
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2011 10:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Scientists in China have genetically altered some 300 cows to produce "human" milk, the Telegraph reports. Using cloning techniques, scientists inserted human genes into cow embryos and implanted the embryos in mother cows. Scientists say the resulting dairy cows produced milk with "much higher nutritional content" than regular cow’s milk, including extra fat as well as proteins that support the immune system—meaning it could be an alternative to formula for babies.

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The researchers aim to have the product on shelves "in 10 years"—but the idea is already taking heat, due to concerns about its safety for babies and for the cattle who produce it. “There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe for humans, and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials,” said a rep for a watchdog group. Of the 42 genetically-modified calves born in two experiments, only 26 survived, reports the Daily Mail. As for how the milk tastes? "Stronger than normal milk," said the lead researcher. (Read more cows stories.)

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