NOV 03, 2017 05:37 PM PDT

Engineering a Low-fat Pig

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Pigs have to be plumped up for slaughter, but overdoing it makes raising them very expensive. A fat pig needs more help staying warm and has to have a heated pen, while a skinny pig might die if it gets too cold because it is not able to regulate its body temperature well. The idea is a happy medium for a happy pig and better meat.

Scientists in China used a new gene-editing technique called CRISPR to insert a mouse gene into pig embryos, which ended up with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs. After they were six months old, autopsies were performed, and they were found to have tissue and organs that seemed normal.

While these pigs will not be approved by the FDA because of their genetic modification, the project has shown that it may be possible to engineer better meat through genetic editing. We still have to do more work to ensure that this kind of meat would be safe for human consumption, and then we have to convince people to try it.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
SEP 25, 2018
Videos
SEP 25, 2018
Predicting Influenza: Could Private Health Data Help?
Health data, such as information contained in a patient’s electronic health record, is closely guarded to ensure privacy and compliance with HIPAA la...
SEP 27, 2018
Videos
SEP 27, 2018
Why haven't Tesla's solar roofs taken off yet?
In October of 2016, Tesla came out with prototypes of solar roof panels that were meant to revolutionize the way we think about producing energy for our ho...
SEP 30, 2018
Microbiology
SEP 30, 2018
These Microscopic Things Elude Our Eyes Every Day
We take much of what we can see for granted, but if your eyes had the observational power of a microscope, you’d probably look at the world very diff...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Learning how Bacterial Chemicals Impact Human Health
We play host to a huge number of microbes, and all the chemicals that they produce....
OCT 10, 2018
Videos
OCT 10, 2018
Are Personality Tests Scientifically Accurate?
Personality tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and others are used to find out what a person is like, internally. They measure reac...
OCT 13, 2018
Videos
OCT 13, 2018
Why you shouldn't give a baby water
Did you know that babies shouldn't drink water before they are at least six months old? That's because, while human adults are composed of 55-60% w...
Loading Comments...