Paper examines transgenic livestock in treatment of human disease

Published on June 01, 2007
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The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology on May 14 released a new issue paper, "The role of transgenic livestock in the treatment of human disease."

A six-member task force wrote and reviewed the paper, sixth in a CAST series on Animal Agriculture's Future through Biotechnology.

According to the task force, transgenic livestock have the potential to produce new medications for the treatment of human disease—either through direct production of recombinant proteins, including biotherapeutic proteins and antibodies, or through development of new animal models for studies of human disease.

The issue paper covers these specific topics:

  • methods of transgenic animal production, including pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer
  • recent developments in gene transfer, including gene targeting and transchromosomic technology
  • transgenic animals as disease models for development of new treatments
  • transgenic livestock as producers of new medications—via biopharming, bioproducts from milk, and bioproducts from serum
  • economic and regulatory issues
  • societal issues
  • an in-depth description of somatic cell nuclear transfer

The paper concludes that education regarding the advantages and challenges of transgenic livestock is the key to public understanding of the issue.

The full text of the paper, Issue Paper No. 35, is available on the CAST Web site at The paper is available in hard copy for $5 by contacting the CAST office at (515) 292-2125.

The AVMA is a member of CAST, an international consortium of scientific and professional societies. The council assembles, interprets, and communicates scientific information about agriculture.