11 Jun 2011

Transgenic calf a world first

10:01 am on 11 June 2011

An Argentine laboratory has announced it has created the world's first transgenic cow, using human genes that will allow the animal to produce the equivalent of mothers' milk.

Argentina's National Institute of Agrobusiness Technology says the cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates human genes containing the proteins present in human milk.

The institute says Rosita ISA was born in April by Caesarean because she weighed more than 45kg, about twice the normal weight of Jersey cows.

As an adult, it says, she will produce milk similar to human milk.

"Our goal was to raise the nutritional value of cows' milk by adding two human genes, the protein lactoferrin, which provides infants with anti-bacterial and anti-viral protection, and lysozyme, which is also an anti-bacterial agent," said researcher Adrian Mutto at a news conference.

The cloning was a joint effort between the institute and the country's National University of San Martin.