Monday, July 30, 2007
Psst:! A Hot Investment, Pork with Roundworm
Unless I've missed something, this uncharacteristically incomplete piece of journalism from the NY Times discusses upcoming regulations from the FDA that will clear the way for a barnyard of genetically engineered animals without actually citing or sourcing the regulations. But it does make the interesting point that even if the animals mentioned in the piece get the go ahead to go forth and multiply from the gods of Rockville Maryland, there may be no money to send the little piggies and their friends to market. Apparently, investors who have been bullish on genetically engineered crops are not so confident that the public will be hungry for GM meat.
I'm not at all surprised. In my experience more people identify with animals than they do with plants. So whereas most people might yawn when they drive by a field of corn plants with genes from a bacterium inserted into their genome, they'd get a bad case of the wiggles from a hog with a roundworm gene directing it's fat cells to squirt out omega 3 fatty acids.
Oh, that's going to sell like crazy; Carpaccio of pork with roundworm gene anyone? Yum!
I'm not anti-GM, not by a long shot. But some of this stuff sounds like bad news. Salmon that grows twice as fast as non-GM salmon? For what? There's already too much salmon around and you can bet that if it grows fast it's going to taste like crap. And what happens if it escapes and begins to compete with wild salmon? Seems like bad news for everyone except the people who would farm it.
The only animal mentioned in the article that sounds like a good thing is a GM hog that is engineered to absorb more phosphorus from it's diet and so limit the amount of phosphorus pollution from hog manure. But even this sounds more like something that would be great for farmers but of questionable value to the rest of us.
Without U.S. Rules, Biotech Food Lacks Investors - New York Times