Ag Issues: Genetically Modified Swine

December 18, 2020


Bailey Richardson

Recently while scrolling through Facebook, I came across an article regarding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the genetic modifying of swine. Of course, the first thing I thought was “What even does a genetically modified pig look like?”

After reading through a couple articles provided by a wide variety of sources, I have a better understanding of the idea of genetically modifying swine. Basically, scientists have figured out a way to modify swine in ways that they will be incompatible with people who have Alpha-gal. Alpha-gal is a syndrome that causes an allergic reaction to eating red meat, or being exposed to anything with similar products containing alpha-gal. Alpha-gal could be potentially life threatening to some. It may be seemingly harmless to everyone else, and often the alpha-gal syndrome is overlooked as a nontraditional issue. However, outside of a diet change and not eating red meat, there are a lot of medical procedures that involve animals. For example, somebody going through heart valve failure, often a bovine or swine valve is used to replace the failing one. How does someone who is allergic to red meat receive a swine valve? The answer is they don’t. This can be life threatening.

This is a newly executed idea in the midst of producing, consuming, and selling genetically modified swine. So a lot of professionals are still asking questions about the safety of producing these swine. The question was brought up, “Will genetically modified pork be sold in grocery stores around the nation?” Unfortunately, it appears that nobody knows, however, there are no regulations that seem to prevent this pork from being sold. 

My last Ag Issue I wrote was concerning the growing world population, and how we will be feeding more people in the future. This is a possibility because we are not sure the amount of time it takes to produce swine of this nature and we’re unsure of the actual ability of human assumption. Of course, there are a lot of questions and regulations to be put into place before we can decide if these pigs can produce pork for human consumption.

‘Galsafe pigs’ are already being produced in a farm in Iowa, and currently there are about 25.,guide%20it%20to%20your%20heart,gal%20into%20the%20person’s%20body

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Ag Issues: Genetically Modified Swine