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Apr 24, 2012

China Clones First GM Sheep

Peng Peng, the world's first GM sheep
Photo: BGI/Reuters
On 26 March 2012, Chinese scientists announced the birth of "Peng Peng" the first gene-modified (GM) sheep.  This animal was produced using a simplified technique known as "handmade cloning."  This is the result of collaboration between Chinese scientists based at BGI, a genomics organization, the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAAS), and Shihezi University in Xinjiang province.  Research on this project began in 2008.  The feat was recognized as a significant technological event for China by the Minister of Agriculture, Han Changbin.  

The Chinese merino sheep was gene-modified with a C. elegans (roundworm) gene.  With this gene, Peng Peng will now produce a "good fat," a polyunsaturated fatty acid. This "good fat" is similar in to fats found in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens.  It is helps to reduce cholesterol, the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.  This gene was inserted into an unfertilized egg and implanted into the womb of a surrogate sheep.

About Margaret


CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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