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NEW GENE TECHNOLOGY FOR DAIRY CATTLE ELIMINATES MILK ALLERGIES
Source: Recombinetics news release

An estimated 107,000 babies born every year in the United States, and millions more worldwide, could one day avoid common food allergies through new generations of milk and dairy products developed from cows benefitting from TALEN, a proprietary gene editing technology globally licensed for livestock by Twin Cities-based animal genome editing leader Recombinetics (RCI).

According to Dr. Scott Fahrenkrug, CEO and Chairman of Recombinetics, RCI and the University of Minnesota are utilizing TALEN to collaborate on work similar in nature to a New Zealand project in which scientists produced a genetically altered cow whose milk contained high levels of casein, a protein used to produce cheese and other dairy foods. The milk contained almost no beta-lactoglobulin (BGL), the ingredient in milk whey that produces human allergies.

Explaining that casein is "the most profitable part of the milk," Christopher Glen, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers, recently told Bloomberg News that U.S. farmers earned about $35 billion in 2011 from dairy sales. According to a paper released in conjunction with the New Zealand study, the proportion of casein to whey in ordinary cow's milk is 79-21. In the genetically altered cow, the casein to whey ratio jumped to 96-4, reflecting a corresponding drop in allergy-producing beta-lactoglobulin.

Recombinetics develops products for both agriculture and biomedical applications. The first product developed using TALEN is a special breed of miniature pig modified to have high cholesterol to serve as a superior model of human cardiovascular disease that will be used for research, by the medical device industry and for drug development.


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