Comment »Posted on Tuesday 12 May 2009 at 11:25 am by Jacob Aron
In Biology

This post is my first assignment for the Print module of the Imperial course. We had to write up a press release for a typical news outlet, as well as providing a second opening paragraph for alternate view on the same story.

For The Times

Bacon, sausages and pork chops are all mainstays of British cuisine, and in the last decade pig farmers have been breeding animals with less fat. Whilst this is good news for health-conscious shoppers, it comes at the cost of the meat’s flavour. Now, a new research project at the University of West England (UWE) intends to let us have our pork and eat it by breeding pigs with both healthy and good tasting meat.

Working with the Institute of Biosensing Technology, scientists at UWE intend to create a genetic test that will allow breeders to select the best pigs. Pigs bred using this test would not be genetically modified, but merely identified and then reared in the usual way.

Such a test could be widely used, according to statistics released by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2005 showing pork makes up almost half of the world’s meat consumption.

The project is entitled ‘Genetic control of fat partitioning in pigs’ and will be undertaken by PhD student Duncan Marriot, who explained the need for his research:

“Pigs need to be leaner to produce healthy meat but to carry sufficient intramuscular fat to maintain good eating quality.

“My challenge is to identify the genes controlling both the intramuscular and subcutaneous fat content in different breeds,” he said.

These two types of fat govern the quality and healthiness of meat. Subcutaneous fat is undesirable and unhealthy, but intramuscular fat gives pork its tenderness and juiciness. Without this intramuscular fat, commonly known as “marbling”, meat tends to be dry and tasteless.

For the Natural Law Party

Scientists have announced a new research project to genetically engineer British pigs. The Institute of Biosensing Technology will allow student Duncan Marriot to genetically test pigs in order to make them taste better.


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