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Pigs have good news for human heart

US scientists have used gene technology to breed pigs that can produce fats, touted as good for heart.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2006 12:36 IST

US scientists have used gene technology to breed pigs that can produce omega-3 fats, widely touted as good for the human heart.

Currently, the only way for humans to realise the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is by taking dietary supplements or eating certain types of oily fish that may also contain high levels of mercury.

But the new study by the University of Pittsburgh-led team raises the prospect of a new source for the fats -- that is from pigs, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Jing Kang, who also worked on the study, said: "Livestock with a health ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids may be a promising way to rebalance the modern diet without relying solely on diminishing fish supplies or supplements."

Keith Kendrick of the Babraham Institute, University of Cambridge, agreed that genetically modified pigs might help scientists assess the role of omega-3 fats in reducing cardiovascular disease.

However, he said: "I am less convinced that this is going to be a source of omega-3 for human consumption when there are other non-GM sources."

Though some dispute it, past research has found that omega-3 fats, which are found in oily fish like Salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna, may help cut the risk of cancer and heart disease.

First Published: Mar 27, 2006 12:05 IST