Magazine article USA TODAY

Pigs to Replace Fish for Heart-Healthy Acids?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Pigs to Replace Fish for Heart-Healthy Acids?

Article excerpt

Scientists report they have created pigs that produce omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve heart function and help reduce the risks for heart disease. These are the first cloned, transgenic livestock in the world that can make the beneficial compound.

The research could be a boost to farmers and health-conscious consumers seeking an alternative and safer source of omega-3 fatty acids. Currently, the only way for humans to realize the benefits of omega-3 is by taking dietary supplements or eating certain types of fish (that also contain high levels of mercury).

"Pigs and humans have a similar physiology," notes Randy Prather, professor of reproductive biology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. "We could use these animals as a model to see what happens to heart health if we increase the omega-3 levels in the body.

"It could allow us to see how that helps cardiovascular function. If these animals are put into the food chain, there could be other potential benefits. First, the pigs could have better cardiovascular function and therefore live longer, which would limit livestock loss for farmers. …

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