Eco

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Scientists have reported creating the first cattle resistant to TB using genetic engineering. Reported in the Guardian on 3rd March and on the Guardian website, the development could pave the way for farm animals that are genetically modified to be resistant to disease.

The cattle in the study, carried out in China, introduced a mouse gene known to protect against TB. The cattle carrying the protective gene, along with control cattle, were then housed with infected animals, and the GM cattle were much less likely to contract the disease.

The study is reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Obviously there is a long way to go before this might solve the bovine TB problem in Britain, but one promising feature of the research shows that the resistance is passed to offspring, suggesting that it could be introduced within one generation.

Professor Mike Coffey, a livestock expert at Scotland's Rural College, said: “This doesn't produce completely TB-resistant cows, but the aim is to raise the general resistance. This would slow down any spread of the disease and slowly reduce the national level in herds.”

You can read the full story here.

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