Lifestyle & Belief

Argentina: Cloned cow to produce "human milk"

Scientists in Argentina have cloned the world's first transgenic cow, using human genes that will allow the animal to produce the equivalent of mothers' milk.

"The cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates human genes that contain the proteins present in human milk," Argentina's National Institute of Agrobusiness Technology said in a statement on Thursday, AFP reports.

As an adult, "the cow will produce milk that is similar to humans," the statement said.

Rosita ISA had two human genes introduced, which guide the production of two proteins contained in human milk and which are important for the nutrition of babies, the institute says.

"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," said researcher Adrian Mutto at a press conference.

Rosita ISA was reportedly born on April 6 by caesarian section because she weighed more than 45 kilos (99 pounds), about twice the normal weight of Jersey cows.

The cloning was a joint effort between the Argentine institute and the country's National University of San Martin. Scientists would have to wait about two years before the cow gives birth and produces milk.