This GM is like Lasagna

By Jennifer Nickel 08/06/2011 3


Today I came across an odd headline:  GM cows produce human breast milk.

Thankfully not all the news headlines on this topic are as basic and presumptuous – some say ‘human’ (i.e. emphasis on quotation marks) and ‘akin to human’ to show that they understand this so-called new wonder-liquid is not actually human breast milk but something unique.  

The wow factor for me as a scientist is of course the achievement.  Someone had an idea and managed to get funding and approvals and so on (i.e. convinced others that this would be a worthwhile goal) and then spent many many hours working indoors and outdoors using methods believed feasible and managed to succeed. 

Whenever the topic is ‘genetic modification’ my main interest is: which genes are added to what

Just like in cooking (very comparable to the methods of molecular biology), there are certain flavours that could go well together and some that might not (based on previous experience). 

In this case, the genes that were added are not drastically different or foreign to what they were added to.  For example, if compared to cooking it is like adding a differently sourced (e.g. spanish) oregano, and a little more of it than usual, to Mamma’s Classic Italian Lasagna.   

Some will like it, some will not.  That can be due to a range of principles of course…


3 Responses to “This GM is like Lasagna”

  • Hi Jennifer – love the analogy, but love the hard science even more. Could you link to the article or the journal where the study was published please so I can find out more about the specifics? I wish to improve my own ‘cooking’ 🙂

  • Hi Elf, great! Here you go – enjoy 🙂

    Yang B, Wang J, Tang B, Liu Y, Guo C, et al. 2011 Characterization of Bioactive Recombinant Human Lysozyme Expressed in Milk of Cloned Transgenic Cattle. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17593. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017593
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017593

    and in case you want more…the work published in 2008:
    Yang P, Wang J, Gong G, Sun X, Zhang R, et al. 2008 Cattle Mammary Bioreactor Generated by a Novel Procedure of Transgenic Cloning for Large-Scale Production of Functional Human Lactoferrin. PLoS ONE 3(10): e3453. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003453
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0003453

  • There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , https://sciblogs.co.nz is really good. Thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well