Healthy bacon? Headlines mislead on Chinese CRISPR gene-edited low-fat pigs

| | October 27, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

On October 23, Chinese scientists published a paper heralding a truly remarkable feat: Using the genome-editing technique CRISPR, they created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than usual. The implications of their research is potentially huge. The pigs have a gene that allows them to better regulate body temperature by burning up fat, which could save farmers millions in heating and feeding costs and prevent little piggies from suffering and dying in the cold.

Then came the headlines.

“Healthy bacon? Scientists engineer skinny pigs with low body fat,” wrote Newsweek, amping up the claim even more on social media to proclaim that “diet bacon might now be a thing.”

Here’s the thing, though: Scientists have not created a diet bacon product. Bacon is not and will never be healthy.

The Chinese scientists did engineer a pig that will have more lean meat than typical pigs, which may be better for farmers looking to sell to conscious consumers. But there are already leaner cuts of bacon available in any grocery store. … Short of engineering less fatty fat, it’s unlikely the diet bacon will be a thing, well, ever.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Sorry, Genetically Engineered ‘Diet Bacon’ Is Still Not a Thing

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