Goat genetically modified to produce medicinal milk

accreditation
Shutterstock
Scientists in Brazil have genetically modified a goat to produce milk with an enzyme to treat a rare genetic disorder, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported on Tuesday 15 April (2014).

The goat, named "Gluca", is the first of its kind in South America. It has been genetically modified to produce the enzyme glucocerebrosidase.

Gaucher's disease is a rare human genetic condition caused by hereditary deficiency of that enzyme.

People with Gaucher's – which can manifest itself with fatigue, bruising, anaemia, low blood platelets and an enlarged liver and spleen – often are treated with drugs and bone marrow transplants but still face pain and often poor long-range health prospects.

Read: Human cloning breakthrough

Brazil, where about 600 patients are affected, imports $113 million a year in drugs to treat them, according to the newspaper.

"It is cheaper to feed goats than to feed cell lines. And purifying the protein (for use in treatment) is basically the same," said researcher Luciana Bertolini at the University of Fortaleza in the northeast, where the goat was cloned.

Gluca was born March 27. She should start producing milk about four months from now. "We need to see how much of the protein she is producing and test its effectiveness," said Bertolini.

If all goes well, and her milk has a high content of glucocerebrosidase, scientists plan to clone her so that identical animals can produce the protein on a larger scale.

Image: Goat from Shutterstock

Read more:

Researchers clone monkey
Cloned cows on the menu
Green light for cloned food

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
27% - 9954 votes
No
73% - 26314 votes
Vote