Beth Ting-Wen Kao

Beth Ting-Wen Kao

Beth Ting-Wen Kao
M.S. Genetics 2005

Department of Animal Science
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, CA 95616 USA

Phone: +1 530-54-4856 (Lab)
FAX: +1 530-752-0175
Email: btkao@ucdavis.edu

Education

B. S., Biotechnology, UC Davis, Davis, CA 2002.
M.S., Animal Science, UC Davis, Davis, CA 2005.

Project

Transgenic modification of milk fatty acid composition

Milk fat is one of the premier edible fats and enjoys a substantial market value. Americans are estimated to receive 15-20% of their total fat intake and 25-33% of saturated fat intake from dairy products. Recent dietary guidelines recommend curtailing dietary consumption of saturated animal fats in favor of low fat products and fats containing a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids to decrease the risk of disease. There would appear to be tremendous potential for improving human heath by modifying milk lipid biosynthesis to produce triacylglycerides with a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. One reason that milk fat is low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is that vertebrates lack the ?12 and ?15 fatty acid desaturase enzyme activities. Genes encoding these enzymes have been identified in Caenorhabditis elegans and the goal of this project is to produce PUFAs in milk by transgenically expressing the C. elegans ?12 and ?15 desaturase genes in the mammary gland of transgenic mice. Production of milk with increased PUFAs could provide new market opportunities for the dairy industry.