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  • In this unit, students develop their knowledge of transgenics so they can formulate an argument and make ethical decisions about using transgenic cows to make medicines to treat human diseases.


    To use science knowledge when considering the ethical issues involved in genetic modification of animals. Students learn how cows can be modified with human genes to help treat human diseases. Ethical frameworks are used to help students explore their views and the views of others and to reach their own informed and justified decision about transgenic technologies.

    An update: changes in funding mean that AgResearch is no longer active in biomedical research projects. In its 2017 report to the EPA, AgResearch noted that it still has around 40 transgenic cows in its Waikato containment facility. Most of these cows are for casein and beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) research. Although some research mentioned in the transgenic cows story has ceased, the ethical issues involved in genetic modification of animals remain.


    Ethics, transgenics, genetic modification, ethical frameworks, risks, benefits.

    Related content

    The Ethics thinking toolkit uses common ethical frameworks to help you explore ethical decision-making and judgements with your students. For more about ethical frameworks and teaching ethical thinking, see Frameworks for ethical analysis and Teaching ethics.

    See our recorded professional learning webinar in which we use the toolkit and other Science Learning Hub resources to explore ethical issues in various science contexts and to model strategies to support students’ thinking in science.

    This article is a handy curation of all of our resources on transgenic cows, including these activities below:

      Published 18 July 2011, Updated 13 March 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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