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Apr 15, 2011

China - Scientists Developing GM Milk from GM Cows Similar to Human Breast Milk

On 15 April 2011, CNN reported that Chinese scientists were working gene modified (GM) cow milk so it could become a substitute for human breast milk.  The project is among the 2nd generation of GM products now in development.

China has experienced issues with the quality and safety of baby formula.  As a solution, Chinese scientists are looking at GM milk.  According to the Shanghai Daily, GE milk could be available by 2013 following approval by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

The plan is to gene-modify cows so that their milk contains nutrients that are in human breast milk including: lactalbumin, lactoferrin, and lysozume proteins.  The milk will lack antibodies present in human breast milk.  Chinese scientists estimate that the annual sales of lactoferrin by itself should yield US$5 billion worldwide in sales and that the milk provides "a cheap source of such rare proteins, which are precious components hailed by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries."

Scientific information on the project has been published in the Public Library of Science One journal.  Work is being conducted by the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at China Agricultural University.

For more see: "China's answer to its milk scandals: Cows that produce 'human breast milk'," CNN.com, 15 April 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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