The world's first genetically-modified cow with high level of Omega-3 fatty acid has turned nine-months old, Chinese scientists have reported. They add that the animal is healthy and expected to produce milk rich in the fatty acid essential for human health.
According to Li Guangpeng, chief of the program, two embryo-cloned and genetically-modified dairy cows were born on June 23 last year.
One of the cows has been found to have an Omega-3 fatty acid level 10 times higher than a normal cow.
"We did not announce the birth of the clone cows until now because it has taken time to check the cows' effective genetic traces," said Li, head of the Biological Technology Lab at Inner Mongolia University.
Li said that it takes 14-15 months for a cow to become sexually mature, and another nine months to produce milk.
"We expect the cow to be able to produce milk with high Omega-3 content next year," he said.
He said that the cows have been fed with normal cow feed.
Dubbed a "good fat", Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid necessary for human health.
But, it cannot be made by the human body. It is abundant in walnuts and coldwater fish like herring, mackerel and sturgeon.
"Another two cloned cows with the 'fish oil' gene were born on Tuesday. It will take time to see whether they are healthy," Li said.
Li said that the program involved a team of experts from China and the United States, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Lai Liangxue and the University of Pittsburgh's Yifan Dai.