Goats Can Foil Gas Attack
By Anne PawseyThe US army has unveiled its latest invention to combat deadly nerve gases, the humble goat.
Scientists from biotech firm PharmAthene have created a GM goat which produces anti-nerve gas agents in its milk. The clever molecule is very difficult to produce in large quantities; previously it has been harvested from human blood - a method which produces only milligram amounts of the drug.
The goats solve this problem; so far they have produced over 15kg of the stuff at 2-3 grams per litre of milk.
To produce the drug the scientist genetically modified the goats by adding the string of human DNA responsible for producing the enzyme in nature into the goat’s DNA, they also included “control elements” to make sure that the enzyme was produced in milk and not any other tissues.
Once this is done the goats go on to lead full and happy lives unaffected by the modification. The drug is thought to be more effective than current anti nerve gas drugs but no research has yet established how to milk a goat during combat situations.
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Image: Danny Wade