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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
‘One day there’s going to be a ring in the middle of Kyle Field’
Zoe May, Editor in Chief • April 11, 2024

“Throw the 1, follow with the 2!” “Keep your hands up!” “Tie him up!” It was the sixth fight of the night. The crowd was either...

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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Cattle being cloned to be ‘mad cow’ free

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Scientists looking for a surefire way to stop mad cow disease are trying to clone cattle that are genetically engineered to resist the deadly brain-wasting illness.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a Washington trade group, says at least three research teams are trying to produce clones. One of those, a team in Korea, announced last month the birth of four ”mad cow-proof” calves.
At Virginia Tech University, Will Eyestone and William Huckle say they are hoping for success soon, too.
”If all goes well, we’re looking to have a cloned cow born later this year or early next year,” Eyestone said.
Using such a tricky and expensive method to protect the beef of the future doesn’t seem very practical, beef industry and consumer advocates say. Still, there is interest in the effort.
”We’re not in support of cloning cattle,” said James ”Bo” Reagan, of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Denver. ”But the more knowledge we have on any subject, the better off we’ll be on making decisions.”
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved beef from cloned cattle or their offspring for food. Even if it does get FDA approval someday, Reagan said ranchers probably wouldn’t rush to buy genetically engineered cows. Mad cow disease remains a small threat for American beef, he said, and a herd of genetically engineered animals would cost a fortune.
But if mad cow disease became a serious threat ”and we felt like there was a high risk, then yeah – there would be a lot of people interested,” he said.
Jean Halloran, director of the Consumer Policy Institute in New York, said some consumers would be open to the idea of buying cloned meat that’s being promoted as ”mad cow-proof.” But she said doing so seems like overkill.
”This is a profoundly wrongheaded approach to the problem,” she said of the cloning research. ”Especially when there’s a much easier solution, which is that you stop feeding contaminated feed to animals that they weren’t meant to have in the first place. Cows are vegetarians.”
Eyestone and Huckle said they started working on cloning calves about two years ago in hopes of learning more about prions, the twisted proteins blamed for several types of brain-wasting disease in people and animals.
The rogue prions that cause mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), can withstand ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, sterilizing temperatures and chemical disinfectants.
As they work through the body, the prions infect normal prion proteins, causing them to misfold and infect other proteins, eventually creating tiny sponge-like holes in the brain. Infected animals wobble and slobber; people with the human form of the disease also lose muscle control and suffer from dementia before dying.
Cattle are thought to get BSE from eating feed that contains prion-contaminated meal made from other cows. Such feed was banned in 1997. Scientists believe people can get the human form of the disease by eating processed beef products containing spinal or nervous system tissue from a BSE-infected cow.

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