by Robin Yapp
“Scientists in Argentina have created the world's first cow to boast two human genes that will enable it to produce human-like milk. Genetic engineering was used to introduce the "mothers' milk" genes into the animal before birth, according to the National Institute of Agribusiness Technology in Buenos Aires. As an adult the cloned cow "will produce milk that is similar to humans" in what will prove "a development of great importance for the nutrition of infants", it said in a statement. "The cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates two human genes that contain the proteins present in human milk," the statement said.
Adrian Mutto, from the National University of San Martin which worked with the institute, said the human genes introduced were "both proteins that can be expressed only in the mammary gland during lactation. Our goal was to raise the nutritional value of cows' milk by adding two human genes, the protein lactoferrin, which provides infants with anti-bacterial and anti-viral protection, and lysozyme, which is also an anti-bacterial agent," he added.
Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, said that the scientific institute "makes all Argentines proud." She also revealed that she had rejected the "honor" of having the cow named after her. "They came to tell me that the name is Cristina, but what woman would like to have a cow named after her? It appeared to me to be more appropriate to call it Rosita."