Bad Science Translation: I do not think that means what you think it means.

Online pulp medicorag “Medical News Today” brings us an illustration of the need for competent science translation. “First Transgenic Kids With The Human Lactoferrin Gene” [bold is mine]:

Human beings consume lactoferrin with breast milk since the very birth. Lactoferrin protects the baby from bacteria and viruses until the infant’s own immunological protection mechanism is formed. Since not all mothers have milk nowadays, human lactoferrin addition into the artificial feeding mixtures will assist in health care of new-born children. Their enteric infection death-rate will decrease by several times. Besides, lactoferrin possesses multiple other extremely useful properties, including the ability to suppress anticancer activity.

Unfortunately, a woman’s organism produces only 4-5 grams of lactoferrin per liter of milk, besides, donor milk can be infected by HIV or other dangerous viruses. So, it is impossible to fully rely on female donor milk. As the researchers failed to get lactoferrin with the help of transgenic microorganisms (the main manner of production of multiple protein drugs), there is an opportunity to make a transgenic animal which produces human lactoferrin with its own milk.


As a result of lengthy and laborious efforts with more than 5,000 transgenic mice, it was ascertained that the transgene was inherited by posterity,

Oh dear.

Categories: language, Science

5 replies

  1. I’d wager that’s translated from Chinese.
    Via Serbo-Croat.
    Meh, I’m glad I’ve never seen that site before. To say it’s bad would be to waste an opportunity to say ‘execrable’.

  2. Seems to be Russian. And yes, the site’s a shocker, isn’t it?

  3. I began compiling a list of scientific phrases that require translatioon into lay-speak if you are talking to a non-scientist. Words like chirality, for instance, which just means handedness are a case in point. The list was focused mainly on chemical terms, but I’d be interested to hear others from different fields if you have any
    David Bradley’s last blog post..Nature’s Missing Crystal – Found It!

  4. I have nothing relevant to add, David, but I’m glad you resurrected this thread, because this post title gives me the perfect excuse to Play the Inigo Montoya card! (not aimed at you, of course)

    Pssst. Pass it on.

  5. Nice one!
    I keep seeing the word chagrin misused in another blog I read…I’ll flip that card across to them next time it pops up.
    David Bradley’s last blog post..Nature’s Missing Crystal – Found It!

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