How far is the GM animal food from us? Super Hog Hornless Cow

Sina Technology News Beijing time on July 9 news, according to the United States "Linkage" magazine website reported that for a long time humans have almost transformed all the plants and animals they did not provide food, but the use of traditional breeding methods. With genetic engineering technology, the migration of genes between different living organisms has made people feel puzzled about the future.

This was exactly what happened in France about two weeks ago: A descendant of a sheep genetically engineered to express green fluorescent protein was pushed into the lamb market, which caused panic in the French public. In Europe, GMO organizations have been completely banned, and there are a large number of genetically modified food crops such as corn in the United States. However, genetically modified animal meat has always been a red line that the market has not yet crossed.

But in fact, biologists have long carried out decades of research on the genetic modification of meat animals. For example, research has increased the muscle mass of animals (increased meat production) and accelerated the growth of animals. , or to improve on other food markets. So far no GM animal meat has been approved for sale on the market. The U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treats them as animal drugs, not foods. As a result, they must pass extremely rigorous tests that are extremely costly and difficult to commercialize.

But even so, animal genetic modification exists, and some sounds cool:

Super hog

Probability to eat in the next five years: high

In a recent paper published in Nature, Professor Jin-Soo Kim, a molecular biologist at Seoul National University in South Korea, presented a kind of super hog that they cultivated through transgenic technology. Breeders produce more meat than ordinary pigs and have better meat quality. Professor Jin's team consists of scientists from China and South Korea who used a gene editing technique called "TALEN" to "turn off" a gene that suppresses muscle overgrowth in pigs.

Ultimately, ordinary hog keepers may also be able to achieve the same results through traditional breeding methods, but genetic editing technology can save us the time spent on breeding and improving hog breeding for many years. Of course, whether it can be put on the market is another aspect. Problem. Kim and his team are currently seeking to sell the semen of this genetically modified pig to China because China is investing heavily in research and development of gene editing technology, and historically, supervision in this area has not been strict. In addition, this gene editing technology only involves elimination of one gene, not the entire gene transfer between different species. Scientists hope that this more modest approach will allow their method to be approved as soon as possible. However, pigs are not necessarily the bigger the better. There may be problems in reproduction because their bodies are too heavy.

Fast-acting salmon

Probability of eating in the next five years: Medium

Canadian scientists first cultivated fast-growing salmon in 1989, and a Massachusetts-based company, AquaBounty, has promoted this GM variety and has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1995. This Atlantic salmon contains the genes of Chinook salmon and Anis americana, so that the body's growth hormone levels will be higher, so it only takes about 16 to 18 months to reach the market standard. According to normal breeding, it takes 3 years to reach the market size.

The company’s efforts to commercialize this salmon product have been slow. In fact, as early as 2010, the FDA had announced that the salmon would be safe to eat, and the company had promised to only breed females that had been sterilized, because even if there were some fish that had slipped into the natural waters, They will also be unable to spread their genetically modified genes. But even so, many vendors have publicly declared that they will not sell such fish. By 2012, AquaBounty was said to have run out of funds and had been acquired by an investor from Georgia.

Cow without horns

Probability of eating in the next five years: Medium

Many farmers will cut their horns when their stocking cows are still young, so that they will not harm other animals or keep their feeders. But cutting horns is a very painful process. Scientists have now cultivated cattle that are born without horns. However, when this technology was applied to dairy cows, their milk production seemed to have decreased. So in 2013, a company in Minnesota, “Recombinetics,” used the TALEN gene editing technology to inject the Angus cattle gene without angle into the body of a Holstein cow, which is the most important dairy breed. By this method, cows with no angle and milk production at a high level are obtained, but this dairy breed has not yet been introduced to the market.

Hypoallergenic milk

Probability to eat in the next five years: Low

About 2 to 3% of all human newborns are allergic to milk, and at least some of them have allergenic roots that point to the same specific protein. In 2012, a scientific company "AgResearch" owned by the New Zealand government genetically modified a cow named "Daisy" ("daisy") to produce milk that does not carry that particular gene. . Using a method called RNA intervention, the researchers successfully removed this particular protein and did not reduce cow milk production. This is a good example of how we can change the nutrients in food through genetic editing techniques. However, "Daisy" is still just a beginning. The milk it produces still has a long way to go. It is now undergoing a long and rigorous monitoring and evaluation process. (morning)

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