April 13, 2012

For students: Take a chance on science

Brucella bacteria. Image from Wikipedia.org

By Madeline McCurry-Schmidt

Earlier this week, I was interviewing Texas A&M professor Mark Westhusin when he mentioned his role in part of animal science history. Back in 2000, Westhusin and his colleagues cloned a Black Angus bull that was resistant to Brucella bacteria. Westhusin said that cloning project was one of his “favorite” stories.

In fact, Westhusin said, the cloning of the brucellosis-resistant bull was reported in the Journal of Animal Science.

“I’ll check that out,” I told him. I figured it would be an interesting read.

But what I found was much more than a description of the cloning process; it was a story of trial and error, luck, faith and discovery. It was the story of how scientific progress can make the impossible real.

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