Oct 02, 2012 10:37 PM GMT
People allergic to whey may be able to drink newly engineered milk without the unpleasant digestive consequences, according to research released Monday.
A team of New Zealand researchers genetically engineered a cow named Daisy to produce milk free of β-lactoglobulin protein that can cause allergic skin, digestive and respiratory reactions predominantly in infants.
"Since the protein is not produced in human milk, it's not surprising that this protein may be recognized as a foreign protein in infants and cause allergies," study author and scientist at AgResearch in New Zealand Stefan Wagner told LiveScience.
Studies show that about 1 in 12 infants develops an allergic response to whey, but most infants are able to outgrow their allergy.
For decades, food manufacturers have broken up whey protein, a mix of about 10 proteins including β-lactoglobulin, in milk products through a process called hydrolysis in an effort to decrease its allergenicity. [9 Weirdest Allergies]
"Infant formula uses hydrolyzed milk, which is supposed to be much less allergenic, but there is still residual risk to exposure of allergies," Wagner said.