People talk about waiting until pigs fly, but those less patient may only have to wait until swine swim with the fishes: scientists have now made them more piscine. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Fish oil is the best-known source for these fats, but seafood may also contain high levels of mercury. To grow their fishy pigs, a team of scientists inserted a gene into fetal pig cells that gives rise to connective tissue. These cells were cloned to generate piglets with omega-3 levels that are three times higher than normal. Future tests must assess whether the levels remain high into adulthood. Not only could these pigs lead to healthier bacon, but such oinkers could themselves have healthier hearts and therefore live longer, which would limit the loss of livestock for farmers. Digest the findings in the April Nature Biotechnology.
This article was originally published with the title "The Other, Other White Meat" in Scientific American 294, 6, 27 (June 2006)