Okaaaay. File this one under weird — and possibly downright frightening.
According to a story in London's Financial Times newspaper, scientists in Argentina have genetically engineered a cow that they say will deliver the next best thing to human breastmilk.
The red-haired calf, named Rosa-Isa, was created as part of a joint experiment by scientists from the Institute for Biotechnology Research, the National Institute for Agricultural Biotechnology and the National University of San Martin. To create Rosa-Isa, the scientists isolated human genes carrying specific proteins that are found in human breastmilk, but not in cow's milk. They then cloned the genes, created an embryo, and implanted the embryo in a surrogate.
Rosa-Isa was born in April.
Talk about Frankenfood.
The ultimate goal of the project is lofty — to make human breastmilk more easily and readily available to babies — but at what cost? The scientists who worked on the project insist that since the milk is so similar to human milk, it cannot possibly be harmful to babies. And IF it worked, and the human-milk-from-a-cow thing was able to be produced in large quantities, it could prove to be incredibly beneficial to society as a whole. But what IF it's not the panacea that scientists hope it will be? What IF the altered genes unexpectedly mutate after consumption? What IF?
Is this a risk worth taking?