Fish, meat and dairy products from genetically modified animals might not be in supermarket aisles yet, but transgenic livestock do reside in barnyards and fish tanks at some labs. Here’s a look at what’s out there:
Udderly healthy cattle
USDA scientists have introduced a bacterial gene into Jersey cows that produces lysostaphin. This protein kills the bacteria S. aureus, which causes mastitis, an udder infection that is difficult and costly to treat.
By introducing a growth hormone gene assembled from pieces of other fish genes, biotech company Aqua Bounty has developed salmon that reach market size twice as fast as regular salmon.
Antibacterial goat’s milk
Children in developing countries may one day drink milk from goats that have a human gene for lysozyme—an antimicrobial protein that might prevent infections that cause diarrhea and dehydration. Researchers at the University of California, Davis are raising the fifth generation of these goats.
Pigs that produce cleaner manure
A bacterial gene for the enzyme phytase helps pigs at the University of Guelph digest more phosphorous, cutting the amount of this water-polluting nutrient in their manure by as much as 60 percent.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in February 2008.
Copyright Environ Press 2008.