Would you put the breast pump and baby formula down in exchange for a cow-based alternative? This question may not be as ridiculous as it first seems. Chinese researchers have genetically engineered 300 cows to produce milk that resembles human breast milk — or at least contains many of the same nutrients.
The scientists, who hope to commercialize the formula within the decade, conducted the cow modification by introducing lysozyme-producing genes into the embryos of cattle. These embryos were then implanted in fully-grown cows, allowing them to produce milk that contained lysozyme — one of the most important substances in human breast milk. Lysozyme works to build up babies’ immune systems.
Although the cow-produced substitute isn’t as easy for babies to digest as human breast milk is and it doesn’t reproduce ALL of the same nutrients, for mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding their babies, this formula could provide an alternative to mainstream formula. According to Mayo Clinic, “Breast milk is the best food for babies. [However], if breastfeeding isn’t working for you, your baby may not receive adequate hydration or nutrition.”
Article Courtesy Emma Gray
So, is this an exciting breakthrough that could help mothers who don’t have the time or ability to breastfeed? Or is it just an opportunity for money making that could negatively impact infant health?