CHINESE scientists have genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk, and hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.
The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety, with the same immune-boosting and antibacterial qualities as breast milk, scientists at China's Agricultural University in Beijing said.
The transgenic herd of 300 was bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows, Sky News reported.
The technology used was similar to that used to produce Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned by scientists, in Scotland.
The milk is still undergoing safety tests, but with government permission will be sold to consumers as a more nutritious dairy drink than cow's milk.
Workers at the university's dairy farm have already tasted the milk - and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety.
"It's good," said worker Jiang Yao. "It's better for you because it's genetically modified."
The scientists have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat. The director of the research project, Professor Li Ning, said Western concerns about the ethics of genetic modification are misplaced.
"There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don't get enough to eat," he said.
"It's our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions."
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