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Author Topic: Chinese Scientists Genetically Engineer cows to produce Human Breast Milk.  (Read 3761 times)

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Offline Sabby

...and in retrospect, we ask... why?

Offline Oniya

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You know that stuff goes for $80 an ounce in the NICU?

Offline Sabby

And now it won't, because we can get it from a cow. Same as if we built streets in gold... gold would suddenly cost about as much as concrete.

Offline SinfulBliss

Time to start buying by the gallons

Offline Trieste

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Assuming their claims that it's identical to human breast milk are true, and assuming that the milk is produced in such a way that the same crud doesn't get into it as gets into mass-produced cow's milk, it could be pretty darn useful. After all, some women aren't able to produce enough milk for their newborns, and some women find it inconvenient to nurse. Synthetic breast milk means that the children of those mothers can still benefit from breast milk. Too, it gives mothers more freedom to do what's healthy for their babies without offending any sensibilities by (*gasp*) baring their breasts in public.

Offline Lilias

There have been women who couldn't or wouldn't nurse since the beginning of time. Before the days of formula, such women simply hired wet-nurses. Perhaps reviving the profession would ultimately cost less than developing a whole new technology to synthesise what we can still get naturally.

Offline Trieste

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The technology has already been developed; the cost has already been spent. It's probable, also, that it'll be less expensive to buy the commodity as opposed to a whole person's service. And, I can't imagine that there aren't mothers out there who don't want to see their child nursing at another woman's breast.

Offline Lilias

Life conditions have already made the 'breast' part impractical, for the mother or another woman. There are plenty of breast milk banks, though, and I believe they should be encouraged. After all, milk is not like blood - it can be extracted regularly and sold without peril to the donor. (Bit of light reading.)

Offline Avis habilis

The FDA has concerns about what might be getting passed to the drinker, though. There was a story on NPR a while back about using social networks to connect milk donors with women who can't nurse. The upshot was that a lot of people find sanctioned milk banks way too expensive to use.

Offline Oniya

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As I said - $80 an ounce.   :-\

Offline WolfyTopic starter

Guys, guys...you're missing something here.

if we can do this....what else can we do? :D

Could we, for example, reverse this process and genetically engineer a human that produces cow milk? O_o
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 12:17:20 PM by Wolfy »

Offline Lilias

if we can do this....what else can we do? :D

We can think of that once it is decided if we can do this :D

Offline WolfyTopic starter

We can think of that once it is decided if we can do this :D

It's already been done.

There are now a herd of 300 cows that produce Human breast milk.

o3o

Offline Lilias

It's a long way from the lab to the shelves, hence the three years. If it can't be turned into a viable large-scale venture, or can't be proven to be safe, it will remain another interesting experiment. We can only wait now.

Offline Oniya

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Guys, guys...you're missing something here.

if we can do this....what else can we do? :D

Could we, for example, reverse this process and genetically engineer a human that produces cow milk? O_o

I seem to remember that they've made goats that produce spider silk...

Offline WolfyTopic starter

Think about it...Human Modification...o3o..Science fiction for now, but some day...;D

Offline Oniya

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Oh, and they were using bacteria to produce human insulin back in the 80's, until the new synthetic insulins started coming out.

Offline Trieste

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And growth hormone, if I remember correctly.

Offline Oniya

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Yup.  Both human and bovine.

Offline Fae Brin

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woops-- I didn't even check. -blush- Thank you Oniya..

I used to think that only certain kinds of genes could mix-- like how dogs can cross breed and plants can cross and etc.

And if two sets of genes that were too different mixed then the fetus would deteriorate or something sci-fi -esque like that.

Too many comic books? mebbe...

Offline ReanimateMagnus

I don't even drink milk anymore. Especially breast milk ;)

Offline Oniya

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With genetic engineering, the scientists aren't putting an entire chromosome into the other species, just a relatively short sequence of genes that produce a protein.  (milk, insulin, hGH, and spider silk are all produced from proteins) The tech isn't exactly new - it started back in the 80's, although this particular application is probably a bit more titillating than the others.  (pun intended.)

Offline Fae Brin

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Not even chocolate milk? ice cream? cream cheese?


I just like to let my imagination run a little when I think of genetics I guess... :P

Offline ReanimateMagnus

Nope, the closest thing I would assume would be sour cream and/or cheese. But does that even count?