Mouse gene helps create tuberculosis-resistant cattle

Chinese scientists have created tuberculosis-resistant cattle using genes from mice. The cattle were genetically modified to carry a gene from mice that protects them from tuberculosis. With the gene, the cattle are more difficult to infect with the disease and are protected from symptoms of tuberculosis.

The discovery could reduce the need to cull infected cattle herds and the use of antibiotics, due to genetically modified animals being protected from tuberculosis from the start. Herd culling has been the traditional response to controlling the disease, Hannah Devlin reported for The Guardian.

Lab tests have shown that the bacterium which causes the disease in less present in the GM cattle that were given a gene from a mouse that was known to be tuberculosis resistent.

"The world faces unprecedented population growth on a backdrop of competing pressure on agricultural land and resources," Professor Bruce Whitelaw of the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh said. "Society needs to embrace many strategies to address this global challenge, both traditional and new, with many seeing genetic engineering as contributing to the much needed solutions."

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