GeneWatch PR: GeneWatch UK condemns production of cloned GM cattle with altered milk composition

<p>For immediate release Monday 27th January 2003</p>
<p>Today, scientists in New Zealand published their results on the cloning and
genetic modification of cattle to alter the protein composition of milk (1).
The intention is to improve the processing and nutritional qualities of milk.</p>
<p>GeneWatch UK condemned these studies as inhumane and unnecessary.</p>
<p>The experiments involved introducing extra cattle genes and an antibiotic marker
gene into cells being grown in the laboratory. These cells were then cloned
- nuclei from the GM cells were transferred into eggs from which the nuclei
had been removed and then the surviving embryos were transferred into recipient
<li>Only 9% of the GM cloned embryos transferred into cows survived to birth
and weaning.</li>
<li>50% of the calves from GM cloned embryos died between birth and weaning
– only 11 calves survived.</li>
<li>Milk production was artificially induced in the calves at 7-9 months of
<li>Levels of certain milk casein proteins were increased.</li>
<li>Potentially large economic benefits for the dairy industry were claimed.</li>
<p>&quot;As in all other cloning and GM experiments, half of the calves that were
born died. It is possible that other harmful effects on their health will be
seen as they age. This research is driven by a desire to industrialise animals
in a completely unjustfiable way,&quot; said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK’s
Director. &quot;Making milk processing easier for cheese or other products to
increase profits cannot legitimise suffering on this scale.&quot;</p>
<p>GeneWatch UK has called for a ban on all GM and cloning of animals for use
in agriculture (2).</p>
<p align="center">- ends -</p>

<h2>For further information contact:</h2>
<p>Dr Sue Mayer on 01298 871898.</p>
<p> </p>
<h2>Notes to Editors:</h2>
<li> The paper ‘Cloned transgenic cattle produce milk with higher levels
of B-casein and k-casein’ was published as an advance online paper by
Nature Biotechnology on 27th January 2003. The scientists come from AgResearch,
Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton, New Zealand.</li>
<li>See GeneWatch report ‘GM and cloned animals. All in a good cause?’
by Jay Rutovitz and Sue Mayer, 2002. Available at<br>

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