CHINA – Seven years of research has brought Chinese academics within touching distance of a mastitis-free genetically modified cow.
Milk safety tests have shown the cow’s milk to be environmentally safe and suitable for human consumption, according to Sun Qixin, President of the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.
However, many other regulatory hurdles remain and the cows have five to eight years to reach the market, says a report in China Daily.
Professor Zhang Yong, leader of the study said: "We've fed laboratory mice milk from the genetically engineered cow for five generations and so far nothing wrong has been detected in the mice. That's highly promising."
He added that safety testing alone will require three years to complete.
Over 100 GM cows are under observation at the University, all of which are given samples of milk to drink, with no problems identified to date.
The protein of the experimental gene is made from human milk and saliva, with every step of the research process heavily governed and scrutinised by state law.
University President Mr Sun reassured that all necessary steps are being taken, adding that society has to get used to the idea of GM in the future.
“We can genetically alter animals to make them resistant to diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, bird flu and swine fever to avert big losses for the animal-raising industry," said Mr Sun.
He added: "The technology should be widely applied - primarily in the nation's stockbreeding industry."
TheCattleSite News Desk