Low-fat CRISPR gene-edited pigs could reduce animal suffering and costs

| | October 25, 2017

Here's something that may sound like a contradiction in terms: low-fat pigs.

But that's exactly what Chinese scientists have created using new genetic engineering techniques.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report that they have created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs.

The scientists created low-fat pigs in the hopes of providing pig farmers with animals that would be less expensive to raise and would suffer less in cold weather.

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The animals have less body fat because they have a gene that allows them to regulate their body temperatures better by burning fat. That could save farmers millions of dollars in heating and feeding costs, as well as prevent millions of piglets from suffering and dying in cold weather.

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[R. Michael Roberts, a professor in the department of animal sciences at the University of Missouri, who edited the paper for the scientific journal] doubts the Food and Drug Administration would approve a genetically modified pig for sale in the United States. He's also skeptical that Americans would eat GMO pig meat.

Infrared pictures of 6-month-old pigs taken at zero, two, and four hours after cold exposure show that the pigs' thermoregulation was improved after insertion of the new gene. The modified pigs are on the right side of the images. (Image: Zheng et al. / PNAS)

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: CRISPR Bacon: Chinese Scientists Create Genetically Modified Low-Fat Pigs

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