Human Milk Produced by Goats?

Human Milk Produced by Goats?It would be difficult to argue that anything is better for a newborn than mother’s milk. Human breast milk has many nutrients in it that are specially designed by the mother for her baby. Studies have shown that breast milk consistently provides the right amount of nutrition for a baby from birth through the first year.

With this in mind, scientists are working hard to create a breast milk substitute that enables parents who are unable to breastfeed or otherwise unavailable to provide the best possible nutrition to meet an infant’s needs. Formulas are good, but breast milk is still best.

What if these scientists had found a way to make goats produce milk that copies virtually all of the properties that makes human milk unique? If this genetically modified goat milk could feed a human infant and provide all the nutrients of natural human breast milk, would you consider feeding it to your baby?

The Science Behind Goat-produced Human Milk

The University of California, Davis has been conducting tests that it believes have enabled scientists to genetically modify goats to produce human breast milk. This is achieved by boosting the antimicrobial compounds lysozyme and lactoferrin to match that of the higher levels found in human milk.

These transgenic goats aren’t the first to produce human milk, either. Russian scientists announced that they have done the same in order to produce medicines that exploit the natural antimicrobial properties of human milk.

At the present time, UC Davis is testing this milk on one of our closest animal equivalents, the pig. Pigs that have received this genetically modified goat’s milk have shown a greater resistance to illness (a known benefit of human milk on human infants).

This begs the question of whether or not these transgenic goats will eventually be used to feed the infants of mothers who aren’t able to breastfeed their children either by absence or physical disability. I, for one, remain extremely cautious.

Could This Be a Bad Idea?

Humans already consume milk from other mammals at a startling rate. We’re the only animal on Earth to intentionally do so. You won’t find a dog drinking from a cow or a goat drinking from a cat (though, if provided in a saucer by a human, cats and some other animals will happily slurp up milk — even though it’s not very good for them). It just doesn’t commonly happen in nature — so why do we do it?

Take into consideration the unknown (and known) health risks associated with current GMO food products. We have no idea what the 20-year repercussions are of our current GMO diet as these technologies haven’t been around that long. Add to that the exposure of it to an infant still living off mother’s milk.

Personally, I welcome the use of this technology for medicine. These tests focus on the antimicrobial aspects of mother’s milk. Feeding it to a baby in place of something natural (or at least vetted alternatives) is hard to really consider.

Would you feed your baby milk produced by a genetically modified goat? Would you trust it over currently-existing formulas in place of mother’s milk?

Goat by Hana Muchová

9 comments On Human Milk Produced by Goats?

  • Seems like goats are good for something 😛

  • I think I’ll stick to my cows milk xD

  • It would be a hell of a lot easier to produce if they did this. Imagine 100 goats producing human milk. That’s a lot more simple from getting 100 women to do this.

  • Actually I’m not sure why we are stuck on cows milk as a society. The problem with cows milk is the size of the proteins in it. Babies and some adults cannot digest it properly. Goats milk is closer to human milk even without being GMO.

  • I think this is a good idea, but in a weird way. It will be good for women who can’t produce milk for their infants because the baby will get everything he/she needs as a infant. I do think it is weird, because a goat is making the milk.
    My one question is what are they doing to the goat to make this happen?

  • I’m waiting for when they have Humans produce Goats Milk. Now that’s a news story.
    Just think of the Cheese!

  • “We’re the only animal on Earth to intentionally do so.” Seriously? What planet are you from? I’ve seen kitten nurse on dogs, dogs nurse on pigs, and full grown horses suckling a cows teet, a lot of these on America’s Funniest Home Videos….

  • Yes I would. I was raised on Goat Milk, because I’m allergic to Dairy products. And my mother didn’t have enough Breast milk.

  • It may have been useful to mention that goat’s milk cheese offers an alternative to cow’s cheese for those who suffer from migraines – as well as giving up chocolate.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson