China cows produce milk like human breast milk

June 16th, 2011 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 16 (IANS) Chinese scientists claim to have produced genetically modified cows whose milk could be a substitute for human breast milk.

Researchers at the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology of the China Agricultural University introduced human genetic coding into the DNA of Holstein dairy cow embryos. They then transferred the embryos into cow surrogates, the China Daily reported.

The scientist said that after years of tests on mice, they managed to create in 2003 the first cow that could produce milk with the same nutritional properties as human breast milk “but with a taste even stronger and sweeter”.

“The genetically modified cow milk is 80 percent the same as human breast milk,” said lead researcher Li Ning.

“Our modified cow milk contains several major properties of human milk, in particular proteins and antibodies good for health and able to improve our immune system.”

Over 300 cloned cattle are now at an experimental farm in Beijing.

The researchers said an affordable form of the milk could be marketed within three years.

Before that, however, strict safety tests are needed, Li said.

“In fact, we still need to conduct clinical trials on human beings with volunteers and finally prove that the cow milk is good and safe for the elderly, infants and the ill, especially those suffering from chronic diseases,” Li said.

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