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Genetic Engineering and the Use of Bovine Somatotropin

Charles J. Grossman, PhD
JAMA. 1990;264(8):1028. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450080114043.
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During the last decade there has been an unfortunate reappearance in our society of an antitechnology and antiscience attitude. This is exemplified by those advocates who would ban all animals in research and block fetal tissue studies and by those who support creationism. An especially vocal group consists of those people who are against any form of genetic engineering regardless of the benefits or potential benefits that might be realized.

We can find no better example of the genetic engineering controversy than that epitomized by the furor currently surrounding the use of bovine somatotropin (growth hormone) in dairy cows. Manufactured by Monsanto, American Cyanamid, Eli Lilly, and Upjohn, the drug will not become commercially available until the end of 1990 when Food and Drug Administration approval is expected.1-3 However, it has been extensively studied for the past 5 years and can clearly increase milk production by at least 14%.

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