Friday, February 22, 2008

Goats to Produce Pharmaceuticals

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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania led by Ina Dobrinksi, M.V.Sc., Ph.D. are experimenting with breeding goats with modified genes to produce proteins in their milk. These goats will allow for cheaper drugs such as insulin and medicines used in fighting cancer. It is also thought that knowledge gained from these experiments could result in the development of livestock that is resistant to diseases that currently plague stock yards. The idea, if ethical issues aren't raised, is to use this technique on humans to eliminate many genetic diseases.

The team was able to kill off large numbers of germ cells (cells that produce sperm) and using a virus commonly used in gene therapy they injected the remaining ones with a gene specifically designed to generate the desired protein in the offspring's milk. The offspring then are capable of passing the new genes on to their offspring. The results of this are organic pharmaceutical generating machines.

The problem associated with this is if the offspring makes it into the general population of goats and suddenly we find ourselves with genetically modified goats producing medicine meant for the general population just as there are fears of GM crops cross breeding with natural crops.

It's amazing how much press Dolly the Sheep got and then news such as this and sperm from bone marrow get largely overlooked. The amazing is now commonplace.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey thx 4 da info now im sure 2 do better 4 my agri-science class project. i needed info 4 a long time similiar 2 urs so thx again!!!