The Russian experience kills two birds with one stone and represents a step on the way to solving a problem that affects about 70% of the world’s population.
Russian researchers have announced the successful cloning of a cow whose genetic modification was done in the hope of producing anti-allergic milk, according to the British “Daily Mail”.
The cloned cow is currently 14 months old, weighs about half a ton, and appears to have a normal reproductive cycle.
“Since May, the cow has been working in the pasture every day among the institute’s other cows,” said Galina Singina, a researcher at the Ernst Federal Science Center for Animal Husbandry. “It took some time to adapt, but it soon happened.”
The success of the experiment is twofold, according to a report from the Skoltech Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, because the researchers succeeded in cloning a cow that was able to adapt to the rest of the herd as well as alter its genes in order to not produce the protein, which causes lactose intolerance in humans.
Singina and her colleagues at the Skoltech Institute and Moscow State University used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to ‘eliminate’ the genes responsible for beta-lactoglobulin, the protein that causes ‘lactose malabsorption’ called ‘lactose intolerance’.
It is difficult to modify the genes of cows
Russian Scientists Clone A Cow
The researchers were able to clone the cow using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), with the nucleus of a normal donor cell transferred into an egg with its nucleus removed. The resulting embryo was then implanted into the uterus of a cow until the calving stage.
While genetically modified mice are a fairly common phenomenon, modifying the genes of other species is significantly more difficult, due to the high costs and difficulties, said Peter Sergeev, a professor at the Skoltech Institute and co-author of the study, the results of which are published in Doklady Biochemistry and Biophysics. in reproduction and breeding.
“So, the methodology that leads to the breeding of livestock with hypoallergenic milk is a wonderful project,” added Sergeev.
Roughly 70 percent of the world’s population suffers from some form of lactose malabsorption, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which makes it difficult for them to digest milk and other dairy-derived products.
Professor Sergeev explained that cloning one cow is really just a test, while the next step will be to vaccinate a herd of dozens of cows with the modified genes, in order to develop a breed of cows that produces hypoallergenic milk naturally.