Goat to be cloned to treat rare genetic disorder

April 15, 2014

Scientists in Brazil have genetically modified a goat to produce milk with an enzyme to treat a rare genetic disorder, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.

The goat, named "Gluca," is the first of its kind in South America. It has been genetically modified to produce the enzyme glucocerebrosidase.

Gaucher's disease is a rare human genetic condition caused by hereditary deficiency of that enzyme.

People with Gaucher's—which can manifest itself with fatigue, bruising, anemia, low blood platelets and an enlarged liver and spleen—often are treated with drugs and but still face pain and often poor long-range health prospects.

Brazil, where about 600 patients are affected, imports $113 million a year in drugs to treat them, according to the newspaper.

"It is cheaper to feed goats than to feed . And purifying the protein (for use in treatment) is basically the same," said researcher Luciana Bertolini at the University of Fortaleza in the northeast, where the goat was cloned.

Gluca was born March 27. She should start producing milk about four months from now. "We need to see how much of the protein she is producing and test its efectiveness," said Bertolini.

If all goes well, and her milk has a high content of glucocerebrosidase, scientists plan to clone her so that identical animals can produce the protein on a larger scale.

Explore further: Rare genetic disorder provides unique insight into Parkinson's disease

Related Stories

Kashmir scientists clone rare cashmere goat

March 15, 2012

Scientists in Indian-controlled Kashmir have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in hopes of boosting the number of animals famed for their coats of pashmina wool, used to make cashmere.

Helping farmers meet the increasing demand for goat's milk

September 26, 2013

The EU-funded project FLOCK-REPROD ('Hormone-free non-seasonal or seasonal goat reproduction for a sustainable European goat-milk market') is working to develop artificial insemination techniques for goats that require no ...

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jbchandler
not rated yet Apr 16, 2014
This article makes no sense. The goat was born March 27 and will start producing milk in about 4 months? Not scientifically possible. No animals just "start producing milk." They have to be bred first and go through pregnancy and produce offspring in order to start producing milk. Goats are not fertile until they are at least 2 months old and usually much older, and pregnancy takes 5 months. That means they have to be at least 7 months old, but since it is harmful to their long-term health to breed them that young, it would actually take longer.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.