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Cloned Pigs for Fatty Acids?
Posted: March 30, 2006
Researchers have cloned transgenic pigs that produce high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential fatty acids found in fish oil that have been linked to potential human health benefits, according to The Scientist covering a report by Nature Biotechnology.
Pork from these pigs reportedly could provide an alternative dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids but poor in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids have been connected with heart, autoimmune and neuropsychiatric disease; however, two recent analyses have suggested that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids may not always improve human health.
An analysis recently published in the British Medical Journal reportedly found no clear evidence that omega-3 fatty acids protect against cardiovascular disease or cancer. However, the authors acknowledged that their results were skewed by one large study that found no benefits of omega-3 fats. Without that study, their results fit with an earlier analysis that showed that omega-3s can lower risk of death. Another recent review in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no clear anti-cancer benefits from omega-3 fatty acids.
Whether fat-1 pigs could ever offer an alternative to fish oil for consumers is debatable.