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Surprising Science

Whey-Reduced Milk From The Source

New Zealand researchers announce the existence of a cow, Daisy, that has been genetically engineered to produce milk that has very little whey, a common allergen.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Scientists in New Zealand have announced the existence of a transgenic cow, Daisy, who produces milk that has significantly lower amounts of whey, an ingredient that causes allergic reactions in some infants. Daisy is the sole living offspring resulting from four pregnancies, which themselves are the results of 57 implants of cloned cow embryos. The embryos grew from nuclei that were genetically modified to prevent production of beta-lactoglobulin, one of the key proteins found in whey.

What’s the Big Idea?

Manufacturers have long used hydrolysis to make dairy-based infant formula that’s more easily tolerated, but because this process causes a loss of nutrients, the team decided to look for a way to get hypoallergenic milk directly from the source. As it stands, the milk may be mostly whey-free, but it still contains casein, another common allergen. Also, the simple fact that it’s transgenic means it may not make it to grocery shelves for years, if ever. New Zealand law currently prevents the scientists from even tasting the milk.

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