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    GM Cow: Cute Abomination Of Nature Could Help Millions Of Allergic Kids
    By Hank Campbell | October 1st 2012 11:16 PM | 21 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

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    Advocacy groups like Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists have already declared war on poor people and kids with their militant, anti-science hysteria against Golden Rice but actual scientists continue to work toward the common good.

    There is more good news for kids on another front. A cow has been cloned and genetically engineered with a modification of its gene for producing beta-lactoglobulin, a protein which isn't in human milk and causes allergies in 2-3% of children. Potential benefit: a "hypoallergenic" milk that doesn't taste terrible, thanks to biology and scary 21st century science that freaks out progressive cranks.

    Why wasn't the cloning or the RNA interference (RNAi) used for "knocking out" the cow's gene for beta-lactoglobulin done in America?  For starters, the Obama administration bans somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) for human applications despite the fact that most scientists are in favor of it and would like to use it in federally funded research.  Well, 'ban' may be the wrong word. They actually simply refuse to fund it, but when the Bush administration limited funding for similarly controversial human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, it was called a ban and all Republicans were declared anti-science, so we should call SCNT a ban since it is, you know, actually a ban, even when a Democrat does it. The milk is also higher in other kinds of milk proteins, making it healthier in various ways.

    RNAi is the next big thing for producing novel traits, like ones that can make animals naturally resistant to infections that currently require the medicines everyone complains about.  If they produce cows that burp less methane and cure global warming too, we are going to have a true anti-science hippie meltdown on our hands.

    Nothing science can do to cure that.

    Citation: Anower Jabed, Stefan Wagner, Judi McCracken, David N. Wells, and Goetz Laible, 'Targeted microRNA expression in dairy cattle directs production of {beta}-lactoglobulin-free, high-casein milk', PNAS October 1, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1210057109

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    ... and the point of cloning?  What is the effect of this milk alteration on the animals that actually need it, i.e. calves?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    You want to control as many variables as possible.  He had a funky tail from the cloning, not the GMO part.
    Initially genetically engineered organisms are clones. Plants for example: you insert dna into (likely several) germ cells, let them progress to plants and clone them in tissue culture, then select. Then you bred those out to get seed production - much easier to do w/corn than cows.

    I'm not familiar w/ the GE process in mammals. But, I assume that you use somatic cells and somehow insert DNA. Then they divide and have several identical GE cells. THen you would take the nucleus out of one and put it in an egg cell that the nucleus was removed form. The whole thing would be technically cloning, but not cloning in the sense that you're taking grandpa cow and creating a new twin...well kind of like that, except the twin has some new engineered genes.

    I would imagine that unless SCNT gets a lot easier and cheaper (probably a nobel prize in line for whoever makes that possible) that the initial organisms will be bred out until you eventually have a stable line w/ the trait. Corn is sometimes done this way. Sweet corn is not a big enough seller to justify directly engineering, but since you could back-breed traits from field corn the old-fashioned way, there is GMO sweet corn. Same story w/ popcorn.

    As a side note: is there really a "ban" on non-human SCNT?

    Hank
    No, I just use that term because Bush limited federal funding for hESC but partisan science media harpies said he banned it. And still do today.  If you don't fund something you don't ban it, but if you only partially funding something and it is a ban, then surely none at all must be. Just my way of calling out hypocrisy.

    Cloned animals are even safe to eat, according to the USDA. Cows are pretty common but it costs $20,000 to make one, versus free or maybe a hundred bucks the 20th century way so they are just used for breeding.
    I agree with the hyped up label. I just didn't know that the SCNT funding thing related to anything but human SCNT.

    Hank
    The UN has a ban on human cloning.  The US federal government only has a ban on human cloning, just like the limits of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research didn't impact ESC research on other models or any other stem cells. 

    I guess I wrote it rather poorly. I thought I was making the human-human comparison but apparently not very clearly. That's what I get for a late-night blog post.
    Im In NZ, we are very strong on Anti GE and GM in this country so its baffling to see this on our news. Even more is they think they might one day sell this in NZ?
    I dont think so, no one will be interested in this garbage, and Im wondering if its something to do to continue getting funding, as with many experiments, its all about the money.
    We have a very strong reputation for pasture fed cows with no Hormones etc, and No GM. This is stupidity at its worse, to possibly affect NZ clean green image. Our only main resource.

    Hank
    You may not like it, but people who like science are cheering that NZ scientists did this. At up to $25,000 just to clone a cow these are not going to be in mass use. But they should be. What is the harm in producing milk that doesn't cause allergies in kids?  Hypoallergenic milk is made now. 

    Saying your luddite image is the most important thing is like saying you use mainframe vacuum tube computers because modern PCs are too new and scary.
    Gerhard Adam
    What is the harm in producing milk that doesn't cause allergies in kids?
    You never answered my original question.  How does this affect calves, which are the animals that actually need this milk [unlike human children].

    There is absolutely no dietary requirement in humans for cow's milk.  Whether people choose to drink it or not is certainly their choice, but if we're going to be scientific about it, it really isn't solving much of a problem.  In those with hypersensitivity, it isn't like to make any difference anyway, since the milk is "low-allergy", not "no-allergy".


    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    These cows are not producing milk for calves. I don't know of any commercial dairy farm that uses dairy cows for feeding calves.  Beta-lactoglobulin in low levels produces no reaction in children.
    Gerhard Adam
    They are for the first few days [which are the most important]. 
    The average for a single dairy cow in the US in 2007 was 9164.4 kg (20,204 lbs) per year, excluding milk consumed by her calves
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy_cattle
    http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/SB988/sb1022.pdf
    Mundus vult decipi
    Just like Genetic Modification of Corn has shown to cause Tumors, how genetic modification in Wheat causes Liver disfunction, how animals eating GM cotton plants die, how GM has be a result in the Suicide Belt wher over 100,000 Indians have killed themselves from rubbish crops, we could go on that endlessly about the contamination of GM and the rights given to the Corporations to sue and protect their patents.
    The reason most humans are allergic to cow's milk is because of pasteurization which destroys lactase enzymes. RAW MILK is far easier to digest, but of course raw milk has been all but criminalized in America, and partially in NZ.
    So while criminalizing fresh milk and pushing an inferior, dead, pasteurized milk that causes allergies in those who drink it, the corrupt food system in America is almost certain to embrace mutant genetically modified cloned cow's milk and call it "safe" for infants!
    Never mind the fact that the genetically altered milk produced by this cow had "double the concentrations of caseins,"
    Oh, and by the way, the milk being produced by this mutant, cloned, tail-less GMO cow is of course 100% driven by artificial hormones! As the BBC reports:
    "It has not yet become pregnant and produced milk normally so the scientists used hormones to jump-start milk production."
    Green Party GE spokesman Steffan Browning said scientists producing GE milk would damage New Zealand's $10 billion dairy export brand

    “This is just another GE mirage; another announcement from GE proponents about a potential product which we do not need and has no market," Mr Browning said.

    “We see this over and over again with GE scientists; this new product or that new product that will have apparent amazing results but it never actually meets our real needs for a safe, healthy food supply.”

    Mr Browning called for GE field trials in New Zealand to be closed down and GE research to be “kept in the lab”.

    President of the lobby group GE Free New Zealand, Claire Bleakley, said the AgResearch project was a “depraved, macabre experiment that is the worst type of animal cruelty”.

    “Researchers that stoop so low as to manipulate the mauri [spirit or life force] of an animal causing suffering, then pretend that this is a significant breakthrough when we already have business using technology to remove BLG, are inhumane,” she said.

    AgResearch's experiments also raised many questions including how many other calf embryos had been involved in the research and what had happened to them, she said.

    “Were they born deformed, euthanised at birth or aborted by the surrogate mothers? Did the mothers die in pregnancy or birthing?

    Hank
    Just like Genetic Modification of Corn has shown to cause Tumors
    No. Being a rat strain that gets tumors after 2 years and being in a 2 year experiment and getting exactly the rate of tumors that rats with or without GM food or herbicides get tumors has been shown to cause tumors.

    I applaud your zealotry in demanding that science you choose not to like should be banned.  I keep talking about social authoritarians and people keep saying they are not...right before they demand bans.
    Expected, NZ have had these worthless "amazing" discoveries before, and none have see the light of day. This will be binned as the same.
    Scientists always have amazing discoveries all the time, like the amazing cancer cures right around the corner, never sees the light of day, why, because you cure disease, your job is done, no more money.
    And as always as history has proven, studies are submitted annually for the continuation of funding, particularly in Universities. PETA itself have been trying to shut down some for this very practice of worthless studies just for money. Its plain stupid, and cruel on animals. But when did science give a damn about animals or the outcome of out of control mutations because some amazing discovery mutated into a super virus.
    NZ already reeling from the Chinese Melamine debarcle, is treading a very fine line with our most lucrative market. This has already had repurcussions in NZ, and the public hate it, amazing or not, it will not be tolerated here. America, maybe, because America eats garbage, and all forms of GMO rubbish. Even has pressured NZ to not label GMOs on their foods imported because NZ public dont want it. This will be the same and you can damn will bank on the fact no Mothers will give Milk powder from a mutant cow to their kids.

    Hank
    This will be the same and you can damn will bank on the fact no Mothers will give Milk powder from a mutant cow to their kids.
    No way, man!  And no bananas for their kids , either. Because 100% of those are cloned!!  Total frankenfood.
    Yes they are cloned, but you have hit the same point that I made. Countries like the US have got trade arrangements with NZ, just like the new TTP agreements they are trying to put us under, totally wiping out our sovereignty. Huge lobbies fight for the right to NOT label GMO's on their product. This has been a huge discussion in NZ and we want madatory labelling.
    Surveys in NZ said they WANT to know were the food comes from and whats in them, while countries DONT WANT to have this available to our citizens.
    The sole reason GMO foods sell in NZ is because most dont know. In thismilk case we know, and explaining away a mutated tailess cow aint going to help. The public have made their mind up.
    Agrocorps will sell it off to America and poor African countries who dont care or know no better.

    Hank
    They do care. NZ may be great for agriculture but people who are unfortunately born in areas where crops don't grow well would like to not have to rely on colonial patronizing attitudes about their countries and want to grow their own food.

    Your war on science is really a war on poor people.  You are less educated about food than 100% of the farmers in Africa, you just can afford to be stupid because you live in a place where food grows cheaply.
    Yeah thell that to the millions who starve because they put their faith in GM seed technology from the worst company in the world, Monsanto.
    Tell that to the over 100,000 Indians who have killed themselves because their terminator seeds failed to grow as promised, thanks to Mansanto and the stranglehold the have on their heirloom seed industry.
    I failed to remind you, these are the poor ones, and hows that GMO technology helping out Africans starving by the millions?

    Hank
    Tell that to the over 100,000 Indians who have killed themselves because their terminator seeds failed to grow as promised
    Can you just put yourself in the spam filter, so we don't have to wait for the automated system to do it for us?
    Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082559/The-GM-genocide-Thousand...

    Hank
    Daily Mail?  Why not cite The Enquirer or Wikipedia?  "chilling dispatch" tells you all you need to know about their intent.  And why do Indian farmers continue to buy seeds that are causing them to commit suicide?  'Aggressive marketing' of course.  I swear, no one is as patronizing and condescending to foreigners as the Daily Mail.  Except maybe 64% of Californians.