Goats To Produce Human Milk
You must have heard of infants being given goat’s milk when it is unable to nurse or the mother cannot produce enough milk for her baby. But scientists say that the composition of human milk and that of the animals vary considerably especially when it comes to the immunity factor. However, a plausible solution is now at hand in the form of a transgenic goat. Yes, you heard it right! It is a goat that can produce human milk! Surprised? Check out the details below.
What Is Transgenic Goat’s Milk?
Breast fed children are usually robust and healthy as they receive immunological protection especially during the first few days via colostrum, a yellowish thickened form of human milk. Infants who are unable to receive their mother’s milk are often put on formula milk which comes with added dangers especially when it is made with polluted water. An animal scientist, Elizabeth Maga from the ‘University of California-Davis’ has hit upon a unique solution. She and a few of her colleagues have succeeded in creating the first transgenic milk goat by adding human genes to the goat which gives it the capability of producing milk filled with protein and enzymes which are important constituents of the human breast milk. The milk hasn’t been tried out on human infants yet though. But young piglets have been fed successfully with the human like goat milk and experimentation is on to found out a way to eradicate infant diarrhea by means of such milk.
There are a couple of additional advantages of this transgenic goat’s milk too. One, it has an extended shelf life, courtesy the human enzymes that can kill off pathogenic bacteria. The milk can also be utilized for making cheese which ripens rapidly.
The transgenic revolution started in 1989 with the creation of Dolly, the sheep and has been going on since then. The ‘US Food and Drug Administration’ have also given their approval to drugs made from transgenic mammals as well as genetically modified carrots. While the scientists claim the products obtained from genetically modified plans and animals to be beneficial, there have been a lot of hue and cry both for and against it .
Maga claims that feeding infants on the transgenic goat milk might actually help in curing certain common ailments like diarrhea that is a major killer in the developing world. “It shouldn’t be written off just because it’s genetically engineered,” she feels.
While the News about an alternative to human milk is just great, most of us have misgivings about how it will be perceived. Apart from health, people are bound to bring up the ethical angle thereby depriving a large number of the world population from the benefits of such scientific breakthroughs. What do you think? Is the goat about to become the mother of human children? Do write in with your comments.
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