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Genetic Editing of Animals Has Horrible Side Effects

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

crispr gene editing

Story at-a-glance -

  • Unlike GE foods, which may have genes from other species inserted, gene editing involves altering an organism’s DNA
  • Researchers have used CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene-editing technologies to create cows that can tolerate warmer temperatures, goats with longer cashmere wool and rabbits and pigs with bigger, leaner muscles
  • Serious side effects resulted as a byproduct of the genetic editing, including enlarged tongues in the rabbits
  • Among pigs that were altered by deleting the myostatin (MSTN) gene, which limits muscle growth, the larger muscles came along with an extra vertebrae in 20 percent of the gene-edited animals
  • Gene editing, with its loose regulation, accessibility and quick results, has been called the next “food revolution,” but many questions remain regarding its safety for human health and the environment

Would you eat a burger made from a cow with lab-altered DNA? How about a potato or a piece of salmon that was similarly tweaked? Gene-editing technologies are here, and they're already being used to alter the food supply.

For instance, gene-edited crops, in which DNA is tweaked or snipped out at a precise location, include soybeans with altered fatty acid profiles, potatoes that take longer to turn brown and potatoes that remain fresher longer and do not produce carcinogens when fried.

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