Cows as Bioreactors for the Production of Nutritionally and Biomedically Significant Proteins

P. S. Monzani, P. R. Adona, S. A. Long, M. B. Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Dairy and beef cattle make a vital contribution to global nutrition, and since their domestication, they have been continuously exposed to natural and artificial selection to improve production characteristics. The technologies of transgenesis and gene editing used in cattle are responsible for generating news characteristics in bovine breeding, such as alteration of nutritional components of milk and meat enhancing human health benefits, disease resistance decreasing production costs and offering safe products for human food, as well as the recombinant protein production of biomedical significance. Different methodologies have been used to generate transgenic cattle as bioreactors. These methods include the microinjection of vectors in pronuclear, oocyte or zygote, sperm-mediate transgenesis, and somatic cell nuclear transfer. Gene editing has been applied to eliminate unwanted genes related to human and animal health, such as allergy, infection, or disease, and to insert transgenes into specific sites in the host genome. Methodologies for the generation of genetically modified cattle are laborious and not very efficient. However, in the last 30 years, transgenic animals were produced using many biotechnological tools. The result of these modifications includes (1) the change of nutritional components, including proteins, amino acids and lipids for human nutrition; (2) the removal allergic proteins milk; (3) the production of cows resistant to disease; or (4) the production of essential proteins used in biomedicine (biomedical proteins) in milk and blood plasma. The genetic modification of cattle is a powerful tool for biotechnology. It allows for the generation of new or modified products and functionality that are not currently available in this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Biopharmaceutics
  • Disease resistance
  • Milk
  • Nutrition
  • Recombinant protein
  • Transgenic cattle
  • Transgenic methodologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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