March 24, 2015 - Mouse Gene Helps Create Tuberculosis-Resistant Cattle


Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Cattle in China have been genetically modified to be resistant to Tuberculosis by the inclusion ofCows in a field a gene from mice that protects them from tuberculosis. Lab tests have shown that the bacterium which causes the disease in less present in the GM cattle that were given a gene from a mouse that was known to be tuberculosis (TB) resistant.

It is claimed that these
cattle are more difficult to infect with the disease and are protected from symptoms of tuberculosis.  The discovery could reduce the need to cull infected cattle herds and the use of antibiotics, due to genetically modified animals being protected from tuberculosis from the start.

 “The world faces unprecedented population growth on a backdrop of competing pressure on agricultural land and resources," Professor Bruce Whitelaw of the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh said. "Society needs to embrace many strategies to address this global challenge, both traditional and new, with many seeing genetic engineering as contributing to the much needed solutions.”

Comment:   The line between reality and science fiction seems to blur more every day.   While it may be possible to genetically modify cattle to be more resistant to TB, there may be unanticipated consequences. If the “resistant” cattle still shed the TB bacillus and are kept in the herd they may serve as carriers. In the US, cattle diagnosed with TB are slaughtered and none are treated with antibiotics.

Could this experiment be a ploy to put a “good face” on GE manipulation and mask the more sinister aspects?

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