GM Cows Producing Human Milk
The Latest in Dairy Products to Hit Chinese Grocery Shelves
Chinese scientists announced yesterday that a milk product similar to human milk will be available for consumers in two years time.
Why, you ask, would any human want to drink breast milk past a certain age?
Better yet, why would anyone want to engineer another species of mammal to produce this product?
It's a very simple concept, really...
Mothers feed their young milk because it is the most perfect form of food for a newborn.
Breast milk provides a natural host of anti-bodies and complete, complex nutrition that is not available in any other formula or combination of supplements.
It is has been linked to developmental benefits, reduced risks of disease, and less hospitalization during the first year of life.
Human milk contains nutrition that improves immune and central nervous systems of children — including nutrients that are not found in cow or goats' milk.
And now, thanks to the udders of 200 genetically modified cows (created by the same scientists), the nutrients found in human milk will now be available on a wide scale — for anyone, at any age — and at an affordable price.
And it sounds as if the milk will not only be available for drinking, but for a whole line of dairy products...
Li Nig, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at China Agricultural University, explained to China Daily that this dairy product will ensure "healthy protein contained in human milk is affordable for ordinary customers."
Until now, there was not a way to produce the components found in human milk on this large a scale for the consumer market.
The safety of the milk is still being tested by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. In March of last year, the team of scientists was awarded bio-safety examination certification for the herd of genetically-modified cows.
This certification allotted a 22-month period for laboratory testing. The Ministry of Agriculture, along with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, will evaluate the results of these tests and have the final say on whether or not the milk from these cows can be sold.
And should the Chinese government deem the milk safe for sale, Li explains that within a decade, consumers will be able to add this new generation of dairy products to their grocery carts, along with produce and cereal, at any major grocery store.
And what about the taste? "[It's] stronger than normal milk", Li asserts.
Anyone in the mood for some Oreos?
Human beings are currently the only species that consumes milk after infancy — let along another species' milk.
I understand the nutritional benefits of breast milk for babies — and even moreso for children in impoverished nations who need complete and complex nutrition that isn't available in local diet.
But to genetically modify an animal to produce a product that is not of its own species? What will "cow juice" mean in the future?
I, for one, won't be downing a frosty glass of GM-cow-people-milk anytime soon...
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