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Herman the Bull

Herman Becomes a Father

"Biotech Notes." U.S. Department of Agriculture (June 1994).

Herman, the transgenic bull who carries the human gene for lactoferrin, became the father of at least eight calves in 1994, and each one inherited the gene for lactoferrin production. Lactoferrin is an iron-containing protein that is essential for infant growth. Since cow's milk doesn't contain lactoferrin, infants must be fed from other sources that are rich in iron - formula or mother's milk. With the successful breeding of Herman and his progeny, however, a new source of nutritious milk may become available. This scientific advancement could have far-reaching effects for children in developing nations.

Herman was genetically engineered in a laboratory at the early embryo stage. Scientists microinjected cells with the gene coding for lactoferrin. The scientists then cultured the cells in vitro to embryo stage and transferred them to recipient cattle. Herman was engineered by Gen Pharm International of Mountain View, CA, and the calves were born following a breeding program established at Gen Pharm's European laboratory in Leiden, Netherlands.


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