Wisconsin, US-based Infigen has cloned a herd of 140 cows from different cell lines with a view to supplying milk for the consumer market, and scientists at Utah State University and the University of Wisconsin are currently examining the animals’ milk to establish whether it is essentially the same as that from naturally bred cows.

Costing US$82,000 a head, the predominantly Holstein herd are too expensive for eating and will be used solely as sires.

Government approval via the US Food and Drug Administration will be necessary before the milk can be marketed to the public. However as there is no legislation prohibiting the sale of products from cloned animals, that decision will be voluntary.

Infigen was established as a spin off from ABS Global in late 1997 with the introduction of the world’s first bovine cloned from a non-embryo-derived cell, “Gene”, the company has also cloned beef cattle, which will not be bred for consumption.