Scientists Engineer Transgenic Dairy Goats to Produce Human Breast Milk

Lysozyme, human breast milk, goats milk, GE goats milk, breastfeeding, goats with breast milk, human breast milk in goats, genetic engineering, baby nutrition, nutrition for babies, breastfeeding, breast is best, baby formula, UC Davis

Two goats at farm – Image from Shutterstock

Last year scientists cloned cow’s milk to resemble human breast milk. Now other livestock are fair game as scientists have recently engineered goats chock full of human breast milk qualities. Scientists have been working on how to design genetically modified goats who can produce human breast milk for some time now, but recently, animal scientists at the University of California, Davis figured out the puzzle. The goats being engineered by these UC Davis researchers actually produce  milk containing some of the enzymes and proteins naturally found in breast milk. The good news – moms who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed may eventually have a better choice than regular formula and researchers think this milk will have worldwide benefits, such as fighting diarrhea, the second most common cause of child deaths. The bad news – many aren’t on board with genetically modified foods. On top of that, goat’s milk, even modified can’t beat the nutritional value of human breast milk from an actual human. Lastly, goats milk, along with other milk products may contain many harmful chemicals.

Would you feed your baby human milk from a goat?

  • 101 Votes Are you nuts - no way!
  • 18 Votes Sure I would - I think it sounds great.
  • 16 Votes Maybe...

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Lysozyme, human breast milk, goats milk, GE goats milk, breastfeeding, goats with breast milk, human breast milk in goats, genetic engineering, baby nutrition, nutrition for babies, breastfeeding, breast is best, baby formula, UC Davis

Young goat with head cocked – Image from Shutterstock

According to Fast Company, the UC Davis research team reports that, “Transgenic dairy goats can make milk with up to about 60% of the lysozyme and lactoferrin found in mother’s milk,” which can help protect against intestinal problems such as diarrhea. Because of this, the UC Davis researchers, along with other supporters note that goats’s “human” milk shouldn’t be written off just because it’s genetically engineered. So far this “human” like milk has only been given to “the toddler equivalent” of pigs, who have indeed shown an increased resistance to illness after drinking the human-goat milk. Next the milk is slated to be tested on monkeys, but no word yet on actual human baby trials. What do you think? Should human babies get “breast milk” from a goat or should we leave the goat’s milk for baby goats and breastfeed human babies?

+ Consumption of pasteurized human lysozyme transgenic goats’ milk alters serum metabolite profile in young pigs (pdf)

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