There is great news this week in the allergy world. In New Zealand, scientists created a cow that produces a low-allergy milk. The report of the study was published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
How does it work?
The major whey protein in cow’s milk is called beta-lactoglobulin. Most often when people are allergic to milk, they are actually allergic to this protein. The instructions for making the protein are in the cow’s DNA, so for this study scientists added genetic material that disrupts the manufacturing process of this protein.
After the calf was born, the scientists used hormones to jump-start the calf’s milk production. Because the calf hasn’t been pregnant, she couldn’t naturally produce milk yet.
The only problem so far is that the genetically modified cow was born without a tail. Scientists claim that the cow’s missing tail was not a result of the genetic modification, but they admit that more testing needs to be done to be sure.