can dairy farmers increase milk production without increasing the
size of their herds? With genetic engineering. A genetically engineered
hormone called (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) can increase a cow's milk
production by 10-15%. RBGH is a genetically engineered copy of a
hormone that occurs naturally in cows. The genetically engineered
hormone must be injected into the cow daily to boost production.
Does It Work?
hormone is mass-produced by bacteria. The gene that controls production
of the hormone is engineered into the bacteria's genetic code, turning
the bacteria into a mini-hormone factory. The approved the use of rBGH back in 1993, and an estimated 10% of the
nation's dairy herd is injected with rBGH.
We Use It?
of the hormone say that there is a downside to increased milk production.
The hormone increases the "wear and tear" on the cow, and can have
serious physical side effects on the animals. (Cow udders may develop
painful sores and ulcers.) In addition, critics say there's already
too much milk produced in the U.S. , and rBGH is simply boosting
the bottom line for the companies that produce it.