FDA Approves Genetically Engineered Pigs for Food and Medical Use 🧬🧫🐷

On December 14th, the FDA approved genetically engineered pigs, known as GalSafe pigs, for both human food consumption and biomedical use. The pigs are free of a molecule that triggers meat allergies. It is the first time a genetically engineered animal has been approved for both food and medical uses, the FDA said.

Scientists have genetically engineered the pigs so they lack a sugar molecule called alpha-gal, which is typically found in the tissue of some mammals, such as pigs, cows, and sheep. People with a meat allergy known as alpha-gal syndrome can develop serious, life-threatening reactions if they become exposed to this molecule. The agency determined that the pigs were safe to eat and there were no detectable levels of alpha-gal in their tissues.

The genetic alteration could also make the pigs useful for xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting organs or tissue from different species, because alpha-gal is thought to cause tissue and organ rejection in people who receive these transplants.

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