Japan breeds pigs with spinach
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.
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.
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
WORLD TOP STORIES:
Blix: 'Iraq could do more'
N. Korea warns of nuclear conflict
Serb hardliner refuses to plead
NASA: Flight-deck video found
Caracas tense after bombs
|Back to the top|