Monday, October 5, 2009


Dairy farms have been facing the dilemma regarding disposal of male calves which constitute almost half of new bornes because of the law of nature. Besides being an economic burden, the profitably in general is adversely affected because of constraints in raising the productivity from the farms. Genetic knowledge about cows and their biological system enabled dairy industry 3 years ago to increase the population of female calves, changing the economic scenario dramatically. How ever the new generation of cows coming of age now is adding to the woes of the dairy owners due to tumbling prices milk commands now during the recession period.

Manipulation at the chromosomal level assures 100% female calves and has opened up business opportunities for genetic companies. "The sorting technology relies on slight size differences between the Y chromosome, which produces male offspring, and the X chromosome, which produces female offspring and has a slightly larger amount of genetic material, or DNA. After it is collected from a bull at a stud farm, semen is mixed with a dye that sticks to DNA. A machine detects the extra dye sticking to X chromosomes and sorts the sperm. The sorted semen is frozen and sold to farmers who use it to inseminate their livestock".

Since a chemical process is involved in this sorting technology, what long term consequences it may cause is some thing to be watched, though there are all round assurances that the process is safe. The danger lurking in the corner is whether this technology will also be applied eventually in humans also and what happens if, instead of eliminating males it is used to encourage male gender in some societies where female child is a bane. There must be some control on the deployment of this technology if the fine balance nature has conferred on humanity is not disturbed by illogical and insensible action by man himself.


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