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GM cow produces allergy-free milk
Researchers in New Zealand say they have genetically engineered a cow to produce milk free of a protein that causes allergies in children.
The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used a technique known as RNA interference to block the production of the protein beta-lactoglobulin, which is produced in cows but not found in human milk.
Study co-author Dr. Stefan Wagner of AgResearch in New Zealand completely knocked out beta-lactoglobulin by using a “designer microRNA” or short ribonucleic acid molecules, to target the protein, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Wagner and the team developed a mouse model that could produce milk containing beta-lactoglobulin and exposed the mouse to the designer microRNA to knock out the protein — resulting in a 96 percent reduction in beta-lactoglobulin.
The research team then turned its attention toward cloning a calf with the same anti-beta-lactoglobulin trait by transferring 57 cloned embryos into cows.
The team then hormonally induced the cow to lactate, and analysis of the milk showed no detectable levels of beta-lactoglobulin, the study said.
The effort targeted the 2 percent to 3 percent of infants in the developed world who are allergic to cows’ milk proteins.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International