A genetically modified cow that produces milk less likely to cause allergic reactions has been engineered by New Zealand scientists. Up to three percent of infants are allergic to cows’ milk in their first year of life.
The modified cow produced milk without beta-lactoglobulin — a whey protein to which some people are allergic. The study has been labeled a “milestone” by one scientist, but some campaign groups say it raises ethical concerns.
The instructions for making the beta-lactoglobulin protein are contained in genes in the cow’s DNA. The scientists added extra genetic material to disrupt the manufacturing process using a technique called RNA interference.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said, “All milk samples from the transgenic calf were devoid of any detectable beta-lactoglobulin.”