Posted May. 13, 2005 23:28,
On Friday, the first ever mad cow-resistant calf developed by professor Hwang Woo-suks research team at Seoul National University has been sent to Japan to test if it really is resistant to mad cow disease.
Professor Hwangs research team stated that they have sent one out of its four mad cow-resistant calves born in December 2003 to a research center in Tsukuba, Japan.
The research team had stated from the beginning that they would have their mad cow-resistant calves sent to Japan to be tested.
Professor Hwangs research teams mad cow-resistant calves rely on the prion theory, which says that mad cow disease occurs when normal prion proteins become pathogenic.
The research team was able to breed mad cow-resistant calves by implanting cloned embryos containing the mutant prion gene into the uteruses of surrogate mother cows.
The research team explained that these mutations prevent normal prions from converting into pathogenic ones.
In Japan, the calf will be tested for resistance from mad cow disease by being injected with pathogenic prions extracted from a cow suffering from mad cow disease.
Professor Lee Byeong-cheon (40) of the Veterinary Science department in Seoul National University said, Since we were able to produce mad cow-resistant calves through prion protein manipulation, we are certain that it is resistant to mad cow disease. However, the verification process will take a long time because the latent period of mad cow disease is long.