The world’s first transgenic cow which produces milk like humans has been cloned by Argentina’s National Institute of Agribusiness Technology and National University of San Martin. To do so, researchers used human genes in the cloning process to allow the cow to produce the equivalent of mothers’ milk.
The cloned bovine has been named Rosita ISA which was created by incorporating two human genes that contain proteins- lactoferrin and lysozyme which is found in mothers’ milk. Lactoferrin provides anti-bacterial and anti-viral protection to infants whereas lysozyme is an anti-bacterial agent. This was done to increase the nutritional value of cows’ milk. The process of genetic engineering was used in this case before the birth of the animal.
Rosita ISA was born on 6 April 2011, through Caesarean because she was double the normal weight of jersey cows weighing more than 45 kilos at the time of birth. As an adult she will produce milk similar to human milk which is high in nutrition. The success of this experiment would mean better milk for infants. Prior to the birth of Rosita ISA, scientists in China had created GM Holstein dairy cows which produced milk containing proteins found in human breast milk. The only difference between the two is that the Argentinean team used two human genes whereas the Chinese had used one human gene.