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Low-lactose calf genetically bred in China

HOHHOT, China, June 11 (UPI) -- Chinese scientists say they've bred the world's first genetically-modified calf that will produce low-lactose milk when it matures in two years.

Named "Lakes," the calf was born April 24 at Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

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Researcher Zhang Li and a research team extracted fetal fibroblasts from a Holstein cow that was 45 days pregnant and genetically engineered the fetus by transplanting a lactose dissolution enzyme into the cell.

The engineered fetus was then transplanted into the womb of a cow in July 2011.

"The enzyme can dissolve lactose -- the main sugar found in dairy products -- into galactose or glucose to ease digestive disorders among the lactose-intolerant people," Zhang said.

Lakes should produce safer milk for such people, who account for nearly 60 percent of the Chinese population, researchers said.

Symptoms of the lactose intolerance include rashes, diarrhea and digestive disorders

"Lakes, the calf, is a blessing for these people," Zhang said. "She will produce low-lactose milk after she is 25 months old and has delivered calves."

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