'Good fat' sheep cloned in China

2012-04-24 10:26
Hong Kong - Chinese scientists have cloned a genetically modified sheep containing a "good" type of fat found naturally in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

"Peng Peng", which has a roundworm fat gene, weighed in at 5.74kg when it was born on March 26 in a laboratory in China's far western region of Xinjiang.

"It's growing very well and is very healthy like a normal sheep," said lead scientist Du Yutao at the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in Shenzhen in southern China.

Du and colleagues inserted the gene that is linked to the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids into a donor cell taken from the ear of a Chinese Merino sheep.

The cell was then inserted into an unfertilised egg and implanted into the womb of a surrogate sheep.

Safety concerns

"The gene was originally from the C elegans [roundworm] which has been shown [in previous studies] to increase unsaturated fatty acids which is very good for human health," Du said.

China, which has to feed 22% of the world's population but has only 7% of the world's arable land, has devoted plenty of resources in recent years to increasing domestic production of grains, meat and other food products.

But there are concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods and it will be some years before meat from such transgenic animals finds its way into Chinese food markets.

"The Chinese government encourages transgenic projects but we need to have better methods and results to prove that transgenic plants and animals are harmless and safe for consumption, that is crucial," Du said.

Apart from BGI, other collaborators in the project were the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shihezi University in Xinjiang.

The US is a world leader in producing GM crops. Its Food and Drug Administration has already approved the sale of food from clones and their offspring, saying the products were indistinguishable from those of non-cloned animals.

US biotech firm AquaBounty's patented genetically modified Atlantic salmon are widely billed as growing at double the speed and could be approved by US regulators as early as this year.
Read more on:    animals  |  health  |  genetics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on sharing the optimistic energy with your loved one. You are in the mood to go large and impress your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.