Gene-altered cows avoid mad cow disease

An international team of scientists from the United States and Japan said this week that they genetically altered a dozen cows to lack the proteins called prions that cause mad cow disease, according to a report from the Associated Press. The scientists hope the development will lead to an immunity in cows against the brain-degenerating disease, and in turn, protect people from eating infected beef.

Still, food derived from genetically altered animals must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The scientists are still conducting tests on the genetically engineered cows to ensure their immunity from mad cow disease, which is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. It can take up to two years before mad cow can be detected in animals. The results from the tests won't be available until later this year, according to the AP report.

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    Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.

     

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