Thursday, April 5, 2012

Move to Market Gene-Altered Pigs in Canada Is Halted

A Canadian project aimed at creating a genetically engineered pig whose manure would be less harmful to the environment is being halted after failure to find a company willing to bring the animal to market, according to the lead researcher.
The less polluting pig, called the “enviropig,” has a gene that allows it to better digest phosphorous in its food, therefore reducing the amount of phosphorous in the manure. Phosphorous can contribute to algal blooms and other environmental problems. Ontario Pork, an organization of hog farmers that had been financially supporting the project at the University of Guelph in Ontario, has decided to stop spending money on it.

When the first such pig was created in 1999, “I had the feeling in seven or eight or nine years that transgenic animals probably would be acceptable. But I was wrong,” Dr. Forsberg said.

Cecil Forsberg, an emeritus professor of molecular and cellular biology at the university who was a co-inventor of the pig, said he agreed with the decision.

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