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Japan breeds pigs with spinach

Although the genetic modification may produce leaner pigs, acceptance by the Japanese  public could be a question.
Although the genetic modification may produce leaner pigs, acceptance by the Japanese public could be a question.  


TOKYO, Japan -- Meat and veg? Researchers in Japan have developed a pig with a spinach gene.

A plate of pork and greens will never be the same now our vegetables can be grown on the hoof, in the world's first successful implant of a spinach gene into a mammal.

The result may be a leaner, meaner healthier pig with less saturated fat but Japan's consumers, now more aware of genetic modified (GM) food, may not share the scientists' enthusiasm.

"This is the world's first success in breeding mammals with plant genes," research team leader Akira Iritani, a professor of genetic engineering at Kinki University near Osaka in western Japan, told Reuters news agency.

Over three years old

No health problems had been seen in the genetically engineered pigs, the first of which was born three-and-a-half years ago.

Cloning
Genetic modification is not new in Japan, Xena (bottom), a female piglet was cloned in Japan by injecting genetic material from fetal skin cells into an egg (top).  

Iritani mentioned that the meat would be "more healthy" than normal pork, although it was too early to say whether it could be considered as healthy as spinach.

In Japan GM food has been met with poor public acceptance, yet the scientists are hoping the modified pork could be a winner with health conscious Japanese.

The research group implanted spinach genes into the fertilized egg of a pig and planted it in the mother.

The gene can also carry the gene onto the next generation, scientists have confirmed.

Breeding among GM pigs guarantees the piglets will carry the spinach gene, while crossbreeding of a normal pig and a GM one yields a 50 percent chance of offspring with the modified gene.

At the moment, the significance of this success has been heralded as more academic than practical.



 
 
 
 



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