Technology & Science

Will that be a low fat or regular cow?

Scientists in New Zealand say they have stumbled upon a cow that naturally produces low fat milk and passes the trait on to her daughters.

Scientists in New Zealand say they have stumbled upon a cow that naturally produces low fat milk and passes the trait on to her daughters.

The biotech company ViaLactia discovered Marge in a study of four million New Zealand cows. Not only is Marge's milk of the healthier low-fat variety, butter made from it is spreadable straight from the fridge. And reports indicate it tastes just fine, too.

While Marge was discovered in 2001, scientists needed to confirm that her genetic mutation would carry over to her offspring.

"You have to generate daughters and then they have to carry a calf and deliver milk," Russell Snell, ViaLactia's chief scientist, told the Australian Sunday Times. "The eureka moment was when we found her daughters produced milk like their mother."

As well as producing a healthier product,breeding for low-fat milkcould also help the dairy industry reduce waste as consumer demand is strongest for skim and lower-fat products.

ViaLactia's research is to be summarized in the magazine Chemistry& Industry this week withjournal articles expected to follow.

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