This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← GM cows produce 'human' milk

GM cows produce 'human' milk - Comments

danconquer's Avatar Comment 1 by danconquer

Wouldn't these scientists be better employed finding a way to get humans to produce cows milk?

It would cut shopping bills and we could finally say goodbye to that infuriating moment when you wake up in the morning, and open the fridge to discover there is nothing to put on your cornflakes and in your tea.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 12:30:28 UTC | #611216

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 2 by KRKBAB

Comment 1 by danconquer- Honey, could you hurry out of the shower, I need a little moo juice for my tea.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 12:49:34 UTC | #611222

javb222's Avatar Comment 3 by javb222

This is my understanding (not a biology/medicine student), please enlighten me wiser people... By default human races/populations stop/reduce wasting energy producing the enzymes necessary to digest milk as adults. This is why many populations are lactose intolerant. But those people who domesticated cattle and started drinking their milk evolved to keep producing the appropriate enzymes into adulthood (themselves and the cows) so they could digest the milk from their cattle.

So... I would guess cows milk is more suitable for human adults (those races not lactose intolerant) than human milk? I bet the nutrition from cows milk is going to be difficult to beat (for adults anyway) but then I am quite ignorant about biology.

PS. How did we discover which mushrooms were delicious and which deadly? Exploring the culinary landscape has a risk to it, but there are treasures worth taking the risk for. I think people's instinctive opposition to GM food says a lot about their risk averseness as well as their fears about scientists and smart people in general.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 13:04:21 UTC | #611230

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 4 by El Bastardo

I know this is geared towards babies who can't or wont breastfeed, but I really can't see this taking off. Unless it's used in developing nations but they aren't in a position to pay for the privilege.

Either way I'll stick to taking my coffee black.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 13:27:12 UTC | #611243

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 5 by bendigeidfran

This is what happens when man plays god. Jordan.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 13:31:30 UTC | #611245

ridelo's Avatar Comment 6 by ridelo

Have cows from now on also have to put on bra's?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 13:42:17 UTC | #611252

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 7 by bendigeidfran

Comment 6 by ridelo

Depends if they're Freesians or Mooslims.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:00:57 UTC | #611259

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 8 by nancynancy

Not every woman is able to or wants to nurse her baby. But "human" cow's milk will offer these babies the same protection and nutritional advantages as babies who are nursed by their mothers in the traditional way.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:13:19 UTC | #611267

TobySaunders's Avatar Comment 9 by TobySaunders

That is perverse. There is no good reason to raise animals, humans or otherwise, for products. 30% of dairy cows are lame by the time they're sent to be murdered: they are as conscious as children. Also, switching from omnivorism to veganism is the single greenest thing a person can do; omnivorous lifestyles are not only murderous/immoral but they require an obscene amount of environmental destruction.

-if some humans were lab-made, grown to the age of two and genetically engineered to stop developing at that age, and genetically engineered to grow breasts, and we then used that milk as a commodity it would be the exact same thing as this cow case: the difference is superficial, speciesist/unfairly-biased & negligible... it takes away the rights of conscious individuals & should not happen.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:26:28 UTC | #611273

Cheryl@RDF's Avatar Comment 10 by Cheryl@RDF

This would not have helped me nor others who are born with digestive problems that make us unable to digest human and cow milk. Special formulas will still be needed for those like myself. Women who are unable to or don't want to nurse can use a breast pump rather than paying what will no doubt be a very expensive alternative. Only vanity and laziness will have them buying the cow when they can get the milk for free.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:34:16 UTC | #611276

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 11 by bendigeidfran

Comment 9 by TobySaunders

Can they not be zombiefied somehow? They wouldn't mind then. Some kind of lobotomy.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 14:46:12 UTC | #611284

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 12 by Vicktor

But it's not... natural.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 15:21:45 UTC | #611292

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 13 by Vicktor

Comment 8 by nancynancy

Not every woman is able to or wants to nurse her baby.

In some cultures, this is frowned upon; especially the latter.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 15:22:50 UTC | #611294

DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL's Avatar Comment 14 by DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL

This is UNTHINKABLE! This is an OUTRAGE! The public must flood the streets in protest! What if the human breast becomes irrelevant and shrinks and vanishes like other vestigial biological structures?!

You've gone too far this time, Science, and you will answer for this monstrous injustice.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 15:37:53 UTC | #611302

Misfire's Avatar Comment 15 by Misfire

Back in my days as a vegan activist I came across the information that, due to the high levels of pesticides and hormones in animal products, the breast milk of humans who ate meat was so high in contaminants that it would fail the FDA guidelines for interstate shipping. Lacto-ovo vegetarians were significantly better, and vegans ruled.

Anyone know how accurate that might be? Overall, with the exception of PETA, the information I got back in the day has usually panned out, but I'd like to get the facts from an unbiased source.

Also curious how much cow's milk has changed since we began domesticating them. Have we selected for any attributes in the milk itself?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 15:48:48 UTC | #611308

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 16 by Stafford Gordon

Unless I'm very much mistaken, the best food for infants is their mother's milk; it's been genetically modified naturally over millions of years.

So apart from avoiding formula milk, what advantage is there in feeding babies modified cows milk?

I suppose some mothers don't like breast feeding their offspring, but they're a tiny minority surely.

I did know a woman who thought breast feeding was beast like behavior, but she was a selfish vain article, or petit bourgeoise. And guess what, last I heard, her daughter hated her. Is there any connection between her refusing to breast feed her child, and its animosity towards her I wonder?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:04:31 UTC | #611318

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 17 by Michael Austin

Sexual Selection wouldn't let that happen. :)

Comment 14 by James_Evans :

This is UNTHINKABLE! This is an OUTRAGE! The public must flood the streets in protest! What if the human breast becomes irrelevant and shrinks and vanishes like other vestigial biological structures?!

You've gone too far this time, Science, and you will answer for this monstrous injustice.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:06:20 UTC | #611319

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 18 by Michael Austin

This is actually kind of interesting to me. I was breast fed, my sister was not. I get along with my mother rather well, while my sister cannot stand her.

Comment 16 by Stafford Gordon :

Unless I'm very much mistaken, the best food for infants is their mother's milk; it's been genetically modified naturally over millions of years.

So apart from avoiding formula milk, what advantage is there in feeding babies modified cows milk?

I suppose some mothers don't like breast feeding their offspring, but they're a tiny minority surely.

I did know a woman who thought breast feeding was beast like behavior, but she was a selfish vain article, or petit bourgeoise. And guess what, last I heard, her daughter hated her. Is there any connection between her refusing to breast feed her child, and its animosity towards her I wonder?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:08:01 UTC | #611320

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 19 by SoHelpMeReason

This is a lot of propaganda. "Genetically modified" scares the shining daylights out of people because they picture the three-eyed mutant fish off the Simpsons. They don't understand how wonderful genetic engineering is, in every conceivable way. We have E. Coli that produce human insulin, goats that produce human growth hormone, and viruses that are used medically to greatly reduce some of the side effects of cystic fibrosis, among other things.

When these scientists extract DNA and insert it into another organism, they're doing it with all the knowledge and skill of years and years in the profession. They know where, how, and what, to inject and it isn't a blind game. Everything is precise. They understand genes.

Some of these terror groups that go about flailing their arms about genetic modification don't understand that they benefit from the very thing they vilify and it's not very likely their Thanksgiving dinner is going to have cyanide in it. Biotechnology doesn't work that way and all the precious little children are not going to grow tentacles. Want to improve health? Regulate saturated and trans fats. Heart complications knock out half of us. No one has yet died of a mutant, polka-dot, fire-breathing, chicken-frog.

When did we turn against science? Am I wrong to think we're like this? Unbelievable.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:24:21 UTC | #611326

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 20 by phil rimmer

This is bad news for the individuals supplying an exclusive new product in London. In these hard times, eeking out a few extra coppers is very important. I expect wet nursing to be hit next.

Mind you I can see volume products like a Ben and Jerry's, "Just like Mother Used to Make" line....

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:27:31 UTC | #611328

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 21 by Alan4discussion

This will probably help with digestibility problems, but I can't see how it could pass on human antibodies or immunities in the same way as mother's milk. Most breast fed babies have formula milk at some stage, so this could be an improvement as an extra.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:37:48 UTC | #611333

JuJu's Avatar Comment 22 by JuJu

Comment 19 by SoHelpMeReason

When did we turn against science? Am I wrong to think we're like this? Unbelievable.

I'm with you on that. Unfortunately there are people out there that have been brainwashed into "pseudo-skepticism" and refuse to evaluate ideas through a scientific lens. To them its all hogwash sciency stuff that's going to ruin mother earth.

Oh, and by the way, do you know where I could get my hands on some of that fire-breathing chicken frog, sounds tasty.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:54:26 UTC | #611340

TheCRZA's Avatar Comment 23 by TheCRZA

An amazing feat of science. But I just wish it was done using willing subjects.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 17:24:17 UTC | #611350

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 24 by Neodarwinian

Aside from legitimate concerns about animal welfare and pesticide contamination ( among others ) I am shocked by comments here and appalled by the comments at the article. Pseudo-skepticism is as good a word as any (JuJu) to describe the uninformed emotional reaction to this new bit of science.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 17:29:07 UTC | #611352

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 25 by SoHelpMeReason

Comment 22 by JuJu :

Comment 19 by SoHelpMeReason

When did we turn against science? Am I wrong to think we're like this? Unbelievable.

I'm with you on that. Unfortunately there are people out there that have been brainwashed into "pseudo-skepticism" and refuse to evaluate ideas through a scientific lens. To them its all hogwash sciency stuff that's going to ruin mother earth.

Oh, and by the way, do you know where I could get my hands on some of that fire-breathing chicken frog, sounds tasty.

I personally avoid entrees with that ingredient, so I don't know for sure, but your best bet is probably an Asian supermarket. They might even have scalloped Loch Ness Monster if you just look hard enough, I'm sure!

Oh and hey, if you succeed, maybe you could get it to cook itself.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 17:32:28 UTC | #611355

Gray72's Avatar Comment 26 by Gray72

Whenever i hear the words altered genetics i always get a little nervous. I really love milk, i just hope that they do have this one down to an exact science. I'am not going to stop drinking milk, but it would be nice if sellers labeled the milk so that i would have the choice to purchase milk that comes from a genetically altered cow or one that has been raised naturally.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 17:52:09 UTC | #611365

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 27 by Alan4discussion

Comment 26 by Gray72

Whenever i hear the words altered genetics i always get a little nervous. I really love milk, i just hope that they do have this one down to an exact science. I am not going to stop drinking milk, but it would be nice if sellers labelled the milk so that i would have the choice to purchase milk that comes from a genetically altered cow or one that has been raised naturally.

Or you may have been unknowingly drinking an increased milk yield produced by injecting cows with growth hormone:

Effect of Growth Hormone on Milk Production and Feed Utilization in Dairy Cows

In a fourth experiment, cows were injected three times weekly with bovine growth hormone for 10 wk. In one experiment, injection of the hormone daily for 10 days resulted in a continued rise in milk production with a net increase in milk production of 18% and a reduction in feed per kg of milk of 29%.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 18:14:56 UTC | #611375

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 28 by bendigeidfran

I had a genetically altered unnaturally raised girlfriend once. I'll try an organic one next, one with no chemicals.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 18:15:01 UTC | #611376

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

Comment 28 by bendigeidfran

I had a genetically altered unnaturally raised girlfriend once. I'll try an organic one next, one with no chemicals.

What! you mean an urban caged one rather than free range?

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 18:22:27 UTC | #611380

JuJu's Avatar Comment 30 by JuJu

Gray72's Avatar Comment 26 by Gray72

Whenever i hear the words altered genetics i always get a little nervous.

Just out of curiosity, what is it that you get nervous about? What scientific studies have you read that would make you feel nervous? Where did you see or get the information that might cause you to feel this way?

My guess is that you might not understand it and you have heard some bad information from various sources leading you to be a little skeptical. You might want to check your sources if that's the case.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 18:25:29 UTC | #611382