U.S. REGULATORS OK GM PIG FOR FOOD, DRUGS
US regulators have approved a genetically modified (GM) pig for food and medical products, making it the second such animal to get the green light for human consumption. But the company behind it says there are no imminent plans to sell it for meat, Candice Choi reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The pig is genetically engineered to eliminate the presence of alpha-gal, a type of sugar found in many mammals. The sugar makes its way into many products — including medications, cosmetics and food — and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
The main goal of the company behind the pig, United Therapeutics Corp., is to develop medical products, such as blood thinners, that won’t set off such reactions, said its spokesman Dewey Steadman. Eventually, the Silver Spring, Maryland-based firm hopes to develop a way for the pig’s organs to be transplanted into people.
The pig, called GalSafe, also has commercial potential as food, but Steadman said the company doesn’t know when it might be able to secure an agreement with a meat producer to process and sell it. He noted the meat allergy the pig addresses, called alpha-gal syndrome, isn’t yet considered a major issue. “It’s known, but it’s not well known,” Steadman said.