The dairy industry has been all agog this week with news of a cow named Marge (and others like her) who produces naturally skim milk. What that means: With a herd of cows like Marge, the industry wouldn't have to remove all the fat after milking. They wouldn't have to throw out all that fat. And you and I could eat butter that spreads easily — right from the fridge.

The discovery by New Zealand scientists, reported in the trade magazine Chemistry & Industry, says that Marge and other cows like her have genes that make their milk naturally low in saturated fats. According to a BBC news report, Marge was discovered in 2001 during a screening of milk of a whole bunch of cows by the biotech company ViaLactia. The same genetic tendency turned up in some of Marge's young, raising the tantalizing possibility of breeding a whole fat-free herd. Now the scientists say they plan to have one by 2011.

Read about Marge the skim-milk cow at news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6700129.stm.


Get developments in medicine, nutrition and fitness delivered to your inbox with our The Health Report newsletter. Sign up »

— Rosie Mestel