(Lana Berkowitz/Houston Chronicle)
Goat No. 21 was not pleased to be singled out from the safety of her herd for photos. She tried to twist away while the Texas A&M researcher kept a firm grip on her horns. The wrangler did not hold her long because no mother-to-be needs extra stress. And No. 21 is special.
The so-called “pharm animal” has been genetically modified to carry a malaria vaccine in her milk, a development that has the potential to change life in impoverished countries.
When the black, brown and white nanny gives birth – maybe to twins – this month, staffers at Texas A&M’s Reproductive Sciences Laboratory will celebrate, then push ahead with their research.
“Our ultimate, ultimate idea is to continue the research to the point to where you actually have a herd of goats that are producing vaccines, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals … in their milk,” A&M professor Mark Westhusin said, envisioning a day when children can “just go out and drink the milk and get vaccinated.”
The process from testing to trials and approval could take 10 years.
(Read more at the Houston Chronicle)
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