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
NOV 13, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 13, 2019
Watch a Hungry Polar Bear Respond to an Opportunity to Eat
Polar bears necessitate lots of food to ensure their long-term survival, but many times, hunting prey isn’t easy. It’s estimated that one in tw...
NOV 13, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 13, 2019
Dolphins Lost 85 Genes to Become Aquatic
Dolphins, whales and porpoises are marine mammals; otherwise known as cetaceans. Although they live exclusively underwater nowadays, tens of millions of ye...
NOV 13, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2019
What do a Wing Nut and a Tennis Racket Have in Common?
In 1985 during a mission to rescue the space station Salyut-7, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov observed something rather strange. A free-flowing wing...
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
Astronomers Find At Least 20 More Moons Orbiting Saturn
Just this past week, Saturn overtook Jupiter as the planet in our solar system with the highest number of moons. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution...
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
Here's Why NASA Wants to Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid
Yes, you read that right; NASA would like to slam a purposefully built spacecraft into the surface of an asteroid. While this idea might seem like a substa...
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
Mars 2020 Rover Carries Full Weight on Wheels for First Time
NASA has been working on an advanced successor to the Martian Curiosity rover for quite some time. Dubbed the Mars 2020 rover, the upgraded SUV-sized auton...
Loading Comments...