16 September 1998
Dolly team to create flock of 4000 ewes

THE scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep want to create a flock of ewes with human genes to produce milk containing proteins for pharmaceutical use.

PPL Therapeutics said it wants to breed up to 4000 transgenic sheep on a quarantined farm in Waikato, about 80 miles from Hamilton, New Zealand. The company already has a small experimental flock in the region.

PPL has made an application to New Zealands Environmental Risk Management Agency to produce the flock. It also envisages a milking and purification plant at the site.

The company is believed to want to use New Zealand as a source of transgenic milk because of European Union concerns about the possible presence of BSE and scrapie in Britain.

The companys activities have raised fears among local farmers that imports of semen could put New Zealands scrapie-free status at risk.