Animals producing recombinant proteins of high value

"Gene farming" in rabbits

The field of gene farming enables the production of large amounts of transgenic products (e.g. nutriceuticals or pharmaceuticals), which cannot be purified in sufficient quantities from natural ressources or cannot be produced easily in other bioreactors. The recombinat products can be readily harvested by milking of the transgenic animal. Milk is a secrete, which is continously produced over several weeks during the lactation period.

We have developed a milking machine for rabbits, that allows the gentle milking of does. The system imitates the natural act of suckling puppies. While the doe lies relaxed  on a textile-net, the tubes with the pulsating sucking-vacuum are attached to the teats. After 5 to 10 minutes, when the mammary gland is empty, the tubes are removed. Although rabbits never were selected on milk-quantity, one can obtain up to 1/4 liter of milk on one day from a doe that weighs 5 kg.