CRISPR Bacon: Chinese Scientists Create Genetically Modified Low-Fat Pigs


#1

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/10/23/559060166/crispr-bacon-chinese-scientists-create-genetically-modified-low-fat-pigs

genetically modified, low fat pork. when i heard this yesterday, two thoughts came to mind:

it’s not nice to fool mother nature. and fat is what god put in food to make it taste good.


#2

I don’t understand:

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.

I can understand if the pigs can burn fat to produce heat, it can help save heating cost. But, the fat has to come from somewhere, i.e. the feed. So how can you save on heating and feed at the same time? And isn’t fat good for insulating against cold temperature?


#3

didn’t pay a lot of attention to the science. what intrigued me was the very idea of low fat pork. a big reason farm raised pork has become so popular is that the commerically raised animals have so little fat and so little flavor.


(Junior) #4

Pretty sure this isn’t how God (insert your deity of choice) intended pigs to be. Just sayin’

Piggy


#5

That was my initial reaction as well. How low fat could these poor pigs be?


(For the Horde!) #6

Because pigs actually lack a gene (UCP1) which help other mammals like us to regulate temperature. This means farmers need to heat up the barn to prevent the pigs from dying.

These genetically modified pigs can burn their fat, and better maintain the body temperature. So they can be both less fat and better survive the cold.

Think of it this way, have you ever get really sick from flu or cold that you cannot properly maintain your body temperature? Now, you need blankets, you need to heat up your entire room or maybe your house, take warm shower. All of these costs a lot more energy than if you just eat a little more. In short, heating your inner body is more efficient than heating the surrounding.