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Gene-edited meat might be on the menu soon

Published Feb 26th, 2024 9:29PM EST
Image: agnormark/Adobe

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Reports from New Scientist suggest gene-edited meat could make an appearance at your local supermarket soon. The report says that a company called Genus is preparing the commercial launch of a batch of gene-edited pigs that have been modified to be immune to disease.

If the launch is approved, we could see genetically modified pork on store shelves in the next couple of years. So far, Genus has created hundreds of CRISPR-edited pigs. The goal here is to provide farms with a way to keep diseases in check without having to purchase expensive antibiotics and vaccines.

There are, obviously, quite a few concerns with the notion of using gene-edited meat in supermarkets. For starters, many are worried that it could cause even worse conditions in animal farms, where pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals are already stacked on top of each other in absolutely ridiculous capacities.

human genome dna conceptImage source: catalin / Adobe

Making genetically modified animals “incapable of catching diseases” could push farmers to pack in even more animals and provide even less suitable living conditions for the animals they plan to slaughter. Of course, this solution isn’t without its issues, either.

Sure, we can create gene-edited meat from animals that have been modified to not catch certain diseases. But, as Catherine Jadav told New Scientist, if farmers don’t improve the conditions in any way, the pigs will simply continue to catch different diseases, requiring more genetic modification to fend off those diseases, too.

Whether or not Genus’ plan to sell the sperm from gene-edited pigs will work is unclear. But, if it does, it could provide some interesting chances to change up the pig farming industry. Or, it could just exacerbate the issues even more.

Either way, it’s likely we’ll see gene-edited meat on the market shelves within the next ten years. We’ve already seen scientists creating genetic “super cows,” so it’s just a matter of when and how it comes to be there.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.