Researchers report mad cow breakthrough

Jan 01, 2007

U.S. researchers say they have developed cattle that may be biologically incapable of getting mad cow disease, the Washington Post reported.

As a result of genetic engineering, the animals lack a gene that is crucial to the progression of the disease. The cattle were not designed for use as food -- rather, they were developed so human pharmaceuticals can be made in their blood without the risk that the products might get contaminated by the infectious agent that causes mad cow, the newspaper said.

The agent -- a protein known as a prion -- can cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which can be fatal to humans.

Scientists said the animals will facilitate studies of prions, and similar techniques might be used in subsequent development of animals with more nutritious meats. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it will set more stringent standards for engineered food animals than it recently set for clones.

"This is a seminal research paper," said Barbara Glenn, director for animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Washington industry group represents Hematech, the Sioux Falls, S.D., company that created the gene-altered cattle.

"This shows the application of transgenics to improving livestock production and ultimately food production."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

7 hours ago

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

7 hours ago

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Alibaba surges in Wall Street debut

7 hours ago

A buying frenzy sent Alibaba shares sharply higher Friday as the Chinese online giant made its historic Wall Street trading debut.

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

7 hours ago

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Recommended for you

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

15 hours ago

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

16 hours ago

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments : 0