Genetically Modified Cows To Produce 'Human' Milk


photo: Tambako the Jaguar/Creative Commons

Details are a bit thin on this one, but my initial reaction to this is an overwhelming grossness: Reports from Times of India are that researchers in China have genetically modified some 200 cows so that the milk they produce is similar to human milk.The director of the State Key Laboratories for Agrobiotechnology at China Agricultural University says,

The scientists have successfully created a herd of more than 200 cows that is capable of producing milk that contains the characteristics of human milk. The milk tastes stronger than [cow or goat] milk. Within ten years, people will be able to pick up these human milk-like products at the supermarket ... [the] healthy protein contained in human milk [will be] affordable for ordinary consumers.

I'm nearly at a loss for words...

The ToI article points out that when children drink human milk it helps improve their immune systems and central nervous systems. Indeed, breast feeding has been shown to have many benefits for children.

However, why anyone other than children would benefit from drinking human milk, in so much as they would benefit more than getting the same nutrients from non-creepily-genetically-modified animal sources, escapes me entirely.

If factory farmed dairy weren't bad enough, now someone really thought it was a good idea to genetically modify the cows to produce a substance similar to something that humans already produce naturally. I suppose if you accept that factory farming is not a bad thing you'd be OK with this.

More on Genetically Modified Organisms:
Genetically-Modified Salmon May Be Declared "Safe" for Human Consumption in US
Genetically Modified Rape Taking Over North Dakota

Tags: Diet | Farming | Genetic Engineering | GMO