Recent news reports herald the advent of hypoallergenic milk from Daisy the cow in New Zealand. The researchers introduced two micro RNAs to suppress the production of beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), a milk whey protein which is the most common cause of allergic reactions to milk.
Genetic modification makes me nervous; primarily because it’s a notoriously imprecise science. You never know what unexpected side effects mucking around with DNA and RNA is going to have. For example, Daisy was born without a tail. Who knows what other non-visible effects the modification of her RNA had.
Aside from the risks of genetic modification, do we really need hypoallergenic milk? Even though the protein removed from this milk is the most common cause of milk allergy it’s not the only cause. There are other proteins in milk that people can be allergic to. How easy would it be for people with milk allergies to purchase this hypoallergenic milk? Do they even want hypoallergenic milk? This leads me to my final point… Milk is not a dietary necessity. Why risk manipulating the genetic profiles of cows in order to boost milk sales? Couldn’t research dollars be better spent?