Infigen, Inc., announced that milk from the world’s first herd of cloned dairy cows is being evaluated and compared with milk from non-cloned Holsteins. So far the milk has tested normal in all preliminary evaluations.

The herd, which consists of 18, two-year olds heifers, began milking in December. All milk from the 305-day lactation cycle will be sampled and tested but will never enter the human food chain. Proteins, minerals, lactose and fat components of the milk from cloned cows are being compared to that of non-cloned Holsteins. In addition, tests are being performed to determine how the milk performs when making products such as cheese.

All test results will be shared with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences. Infigen plans to publish a peer-reviewed paper analyzing the data from the cloned milking herd later this year.

“This is the world’s first all-clone dairy. It will be used for research and to demonstrate the viability of cloned dairy animals in a commercial environment,” says Michael Bishop, president and chief scientific officer for Infigen. So far, this herd shows that cloned animals, produced by using Infigen’s patented Nuclear Transfer process can reach sexual maturity and be healthy, uniform, calve naturally and perform normally in a typical dairy environment.