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Experiment on Tuberculosis Resistant Cattle in China Successful

Update Date: Feb 02, 2017 07:10 AM EST

Bovine tuberculosis has been a big problem from many countries, not only in China but in the UK Africa and Asia as well. However, after scientists in China successfully produced cloned cattle with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis, the agricultural sector is seeing a brighter future in the cattle meat and production industry.

BBC reports that 12 calves were born in China and 11 of these survived for more than three months.  To be able to produce cloned cattle resistant to tuberculosis, scientists in China had to use a genome editing tool that allowed them to alter the genetic DNA of the cattle. The team from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi China altered a specific gene that can fight the infection.

The test on the resistance of these genetically altered cattle was carried out by getting blood samples of the cloned animals and observing its capabilities to resist the bovine tuberculosis strain. However, it was not clear if the resistance of the genetically altered cattle would react just the same if they were exposed to illness in normal conditions.

Bovine tuberculosis in cattle has always been a complex disease, according to Professor Ian McConnell of the University of Cambridge. Although gene technology has given high hopes in discovering more about the transgenic cattle, prevention of tuberculosis in this species will require further more studies as reported by News Week.

The research, coined as CRISPR was performed on 20 cows in total. These animals proved to be more resistant to tuberculosis compare to other animals in laboratory conditions. They also showed no unintended consequences after their genetic make-ups were altered. A complete description of the experiment was published in the Genome Biology last January 31.

This intensively researched tool, developed to improve and modify the genetic genome of animals to fight bovine tuberculosis demonstrates a feasible way of introducing gene alteration into other animals to improve their health and safe production in the future. Further studies are still being conducted to ensure the safety of the outcomes of the experiments.

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