The animal scientists at the University of California, Davis, were using the milk of a line of transgenic dairy goats which they developed about eight years ago. They carry the gene for human lysozyme. This protein is found in high levels in human breast milk, it limits the growth of bacteria that cause intestinal infections and diarrhoea and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.

The researchers fed pasteurized, lysozyme-rich milk to young goats and pigs. Pasteurized milk from non-transgenic goats was fed to the control group of pigs and goats. In both animal models, the results of this study indicated that the milk from the transgenic goats was impacting the growth of digestive-tract bacteria.

The researchers hope these findings will one day lead to milk that protects infants and children against diarrhoeal illnesses, which each year kill more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

"This goat's milk represents one of the first transgenic food products that has the potential to really benefit human health," said Professor Jim Murray, who led the study along with Professor Gary Anderson and animal scientist Elizabeth Maga. "The results of the study indicate that the protective, antibacterial characteristics of lysozyme-rich human breast milk are also present in milk produced by transgenic goats that carry the gene for lysozyme."; Source: University of California, Davis