Genesis 1: “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’”
From the SAb Biotherapeutics Web Page: “We’re changing the landscape of human health.”
I believe that cows are created in the image of God.
In a pasture on the edge of Canton, South Dakota, several cows stand together. They don’t look special at all. Just cows, eating and staring, swatting flies with their tails. But these cattle are of inestimable value. Someday, the cow I see in the nearby field might be my blood relative. The scientists at SAb Biotherapeutics create the cattle to make human polyclonal antibodies to fight disease. The cattle are clones, created through the same process that scientists used to clone Dolly the Sheep back in 1996. The cattle’s plasma, filled with human antibodies, is a bovine gold mine for the scientists who study these cattle, hoping to cure pernicious human diseases.
Scientists and biotechnologists genetically engineer the cattle by taking out bovine genes that produce cow antibodies, and replacing them with artificial human chromosomes that contain the genetic information to create human antibodies. When the cattle are vaccinated with a disease antigen, their immune system attacks it with human antibodies. Next the antibodies are harvested from the plasma and sorted to create a new drug for treatment of a lethal disease or virus in humans.
The scientists at SAb Biotherapeutics utilize genetic science and reproductive technologies needed to engineer the transgenic cattle. They practice eugenics in cattle unabashedly—good genes, better outcomes. To achieve their mission, they use the newest assisted reproductive technologies including embryo transfer, IVF, and sex selected semen. SAb Biotherapeutics is changing not only the landscape of health and medical research, but also the relationship between humans and non-humans.
If I’m ever treated for a dangerous disease or virus, it just might be that the human antibodies made by the cow whose life reflects the scientific expertise of SAb Biotherapeutics will flow from the cow’s plasma into my body. The separation between cow and human that once seemed so simple and obvious now gives way to a mixing of our blood in order to save life. They are bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
Listen to Cows, by Gary Pederson, a humorous musical response to the striking and impressive paintings of cattle by Sheila.