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Cloned transgenic cattle produce milk with higher levels of β-casein and κ-casein

Abstract

To enhance milk composition and milk processing efficiency by increasing the casein concentration in milk, we have introduced additional copies of the genes encoding bovine β- and κ-casein (CSN2 and CSN3, respectively) into female bovine fibroblasts. Nuclear transfer with four independent donor cell lines resulted in the production of 11 transgenic calves. The analysis of hormonally induced milk showed substantial expression and secretion of the transgene-derived caseins into milk. Nine cows, representing two high-expressing lines, produced milk with an 8–20% increase in β-casein, a twofold increase in κ-casein levels, and a markedly altered κ-casein to total casein ratio. These results show that it is feasible to substantially alter a major component of milk in high producing dairy cows by a transgenic approach and thus to improve the functional properties of dairy milk.

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Figure 1: Schematic representation of the bovine CSN2 and CSN2/3 transgene constructs.
Figure 2: Southern blot analysis of transgenic cattle.
Figure 3: Expression of bovine β- and κ-casein in the milk of transgenic cows.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Andria Miller, Jan Oliver, and Fleur Tucker for assistance with NT; Jacqui Forsyth, Martin Berg, Katie Cockrem, Vicki McMillan, Aaron Malthus, and Tim Hale for dedicated animal husbandry; Hilda Troskie, Anne Pugh, and Bridget Peachy for in vitro embryo production and biopsy; Craig Smith and Wilhelmina Martin for milk analysis; Bill Jordan, Jenny Hudson (Victoria University of Wellington), Janine Cooney, and Dwayne Jensen, (HortResearch), for MS; and Harold Henderson for assistance with statistical analysis. Supported by the Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology, New Zealand and by AgResearch.

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Correspondence to Götz Laible.

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Brophy, B., Smolenski, G., Wheeler, T. et al. Cloned transgenic cattle produce milk with higher levels of β-casein and κ-casein. Nat Biotechnol 21, 157–162 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt783

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