Meet Peng Peng, a newly cloned "good fat" sheep in China (photo)

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33 Responses to “Meet Peng Peng, a newly cloned "good fat" sheep in China (photo)”

  1. pjk says:

    what could go wrong.

  2. Dan Hibiki says:

    I’m going to wait till there’s a Japanese version…

  3. Ian Wood says:

    That’s not a photo of a sheep. That’s a photo of a photo of a sheep.

    Which seems appropriate.

  4. Jon Konrath says:

    Because if there’s any one thing that people who eat healthy like, it’s genetically-modified food.

    • bkad says:

      Which I always found a little mysterious, because it seems to me that people who valued health would be excited by engineering food. Another example: this project I heard about on NPR ( http://www.danforthcenter.org/science/programs/international_programs/bcp/  ) The researchers are modifying Cassava to have more protein, vitamins, and minerals). Huge numbers of people, who are not typically wealthy whole foods shoppers, depend on Cassava for nutrition — this could be a huge benefit.

      • bkad says:

        I guess the objection is because food is an emotionally complicated topic. I don’t hear people complain so much about the use of advanced chemistry or genetic engineering as applied to medicine, because these don’t strike people as personally as food does. (Blood product made from genetically engineered hamster cells kept me alive just this past year. No one is complaining except for my insurance company.)

        I’m included in the emotionally complicated food thing. It can get confusing. There are

        * Specific, well-established facts (trans-fat is unhealthy) — but even these I’m not 100% confident of, as some of what I learned as a kid turned out not be true, and some things which are almost universally accepted still have detractors (e.g. saturated fat being unhealthy)
        * Guidelines which may be true on average but which are not universally true (less processed food is healthier)
        * Practices which are at least partly religious or philosophical  (raw foodism, veganism,  natural-foodism)
        * Identity issues – who we and our families ARE has a lot to do with what we eat, what we ate as kids, what memories are trying to recreate, etc.  If you grew up drinking whole milk or come from a ‘sausages and perrogies fried in butter’ culture,  it’s hard to give that up or look kindly on people who say you shouldn’t eat that way.  Or if you have fond childhood memories of meat cooking on the grill, as I do. Just the smell of meat cooking on an outdoor fire makes me happy.

  5. Trent Baker says:

    Black Sheep. Seriously funny NZ zombie flick :P
    On the serious side I feel sorry for the sheep, its probably going to have a short horrible life and then quite literally fall apart on a cellular level. Anyone with a basic understanding of biology could tell you that you can’t go tinkering with multi-cellular  organisms without upsetting the delicate balance. At a guess I would say that it will won’t be able to process the fat cells and just keep storing them until its heart gives out or some other process disrupted by the presence of these incorrect fat cells will go out of control perhaps spawning a host of free radicals riddling the creature with cancer or cause its organs to fail catastrophically. That would be kinda neat, weaponized exploding sheep. The other weird meat.

  6. royaltrux says:

    Who’s the genius who figured out how to sell Dell monitors to the Chinese?

  7. chgoliz says:

    containing a “good” type of fat found naturally in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

    Or one could, you know, cut out the middleman and eat nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens instead.

  8. GenMal says:

    “Anyone with a basic understanding of biology could tell you that you can’t go tinkering with multi-cellular  organisms without upsetting the delicate balance. ”
    Yeah, that’s not true. Also stating this like it’s a universal truth doesn’t really mean anything. Genetic engineering isn’t the speed of light.
    “At a guess I would say that it will won’t be able to process the fat cells and just keep storing them until its heart gives out or some other process disrupted by the presence of these incorrect fat cells will go out of control perhaps spawning a host of free radicals riddling the creature with cancer or cause its organs to fail catastrophically. ”
    I’m sorry. If the body can anabolize fat cells it can catabolize them. Do you even know what “good” fat means? If the sheep isn’t getting a steady supply of glucose even during sleeping hours it will die so I highly suspect it’s system utilizes gluconeogenesis. 
    “Or one could, you know, cut out the middleman and eat nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens instead.”
    Spoken like a person who’s never skipped a meal. These things aren’t always done for the 1st world. The 3rd world needs food as well. Check out the genetically engineered “golden rice”. It saves lives. 

    • Angryjim says:

      Yeah the 3rd world needs food too, but meat is still inefficient and expensive. Genetically modified plants would probably help those people more than genetically modified animals. I mean, isn’t the point of this animal to be “healthier” – in other words it’s catering to people who eat too much meat already. And people eating too much meat are, I am guessing, not suffering from poverty. I think this animal (and maybe cattle like it) would probably help americans who eat too much mcdonalds more than anyone. (I say just don’t go to mcdonalds, but some people like that junk)

      • GenMal says:

        “Yeah the 3rd world needs food too, but meat is still inefficient and expensive.”
        So we shouldn’t try to get the most out of it? I don’t understand. You shouldn’t search for ways to make it more efficient, such as genetically modifying it, or search for ways to make it less expensive?”
        I mean, isn’t the point of this animal to be “healthier” – in other words it’s catering to people who eat too much meat already. And people eating too much meat are, I am guessing, not suffering from poverty. “Break down this statement. You make an assumption then verify your last statement by accepting your assumption as if it were true. The point of this animal is to be healthier, and it would help all people, not just people who eat too much meat. The only people this won’t help are vegetarians, or it may in some unknown way.” I think this animal (and maybe cattle like it) would probably help americans who eat too much mcdonalds more than anyone. (I say just don’t go to mcdonalds, but some people like that junk)”Yeah, this would help quite a few people other than those who “eat too much meat”. You don’t get cardiovascular issues just from character defects such as gluttony. There are plenty of people out there who can benefit from healthy fats.

    • Ron Georg says:

      The vitamin A deficiency Golden Rice seeks to address came about because Green Revolution proponents pushed traditional farmers to give up their mixed crop, rotational systems in favor of high-yield monoculture crops. What they got was lots of food with no nutrition. Now food technologists think they can fix that with another magic bullet, Golden Rice. So far, the rice hasn’t been able to produce anywhere near the necessary amount of vitamin A, and, even if it does, vitamin A requires fat for uptake, and rice doesn’t have much. Golden Rice hardly saves lives.

      And this Frankenlamb won’t help, either. It’s just an attempt to preempt the diseases of affluence that come with a switch to a diet high in animal protein (a diet generally denied to the third world). Even if the doubtful health claims prove true, the environmental consequences of trying to feed the whole planet an animal-based diet would be catastrophic. It takes ten times the land to produce a pound of animal protein versus a pound of vegetable protein. Just look at South America, where the Amazon rain forest is being mowed down to make space to grow soy–which is fed to livestock. 

      All of this technology is amazing and impressive, but it is a distraction. Most of the problems of hunger are about politics, not science. And most of the problems of health and environment, as they relate to food, are from eating meat.

      • chgoliz says:

        Thank you both, Angryjim and Ron, for explaining while I was elsewhere (and much better than I would have).
        For the record, GenMal, I was for a number of years unfortunately well acquainted with not being able to eat every meal or even every day.  In fact, that’s when and why I first became a vegetarian….because it’s so much cheaper.

      • GenMal says:

        “Golden Rice. So far, the rice hasn’t been able to produce anywhere near the necessary amount of vitamin A, and, even if it does, vitamin A requires fat for uptake, and rice doesn’t have much. Golden Rice hardly saves lives.”
        Do most people eat just rice? Do people have a varied diet? Could people eat Golden rice and get their fat elsewhere?
        “And this Frankenlamb won’t help, either. It’s just an attempt to preempt the diseases of affluence that come with a switch to a diet high in animal protein (a diet generally denied to the third world). ”
        Well, If it doesn’t help the third world then why do it. I love the way you betray your bias with the words “Frankenlamb” and “affluence”. Also, my point about the third world was given about the subject of “Golden Rice”.
        “Most of the problems of hunger are about politics, not science.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug 
        “And most of the problems of health and environment, as they relate to food, are from eating meat.”
        Well, we should leave that to the politicians then and tell the scientists to stay out of it. 

  9. IndexMe says:

    I don’t get it does this taste like mutton ‘n nuts? Or… worms?

  10. bkad says:

    I think this story is unmitigated awesome, and makes me wish I studied genetics in college (the tech of the 21st century) instead of physics (the tech of the 20th century). I’m not bothered in the least. Though, I do hope we get to the point where we can grow meat in vats eventually.

  11. SKR says:

    this is horrible.  what kind of madman would want to make meat more healthful?  Don’t they realize that heart disease is a feature not a bug.  How are we going to hector people into vegetarianism if we can’t scare them with health effects?  Sheep farts are going to usher in the climate change apocalypse and must be stopped.  I bet Monsanto is responsible. C.C

  12. awesome. now let’s make some genmodded pigs so I can get my daily omega-3 ration from bacon. 

  13. Daemonworks says:

    Am I the only one who thinks it looks like the clone burst out of the back of the other one?

  14. el dueno says:

    Franken-sheep where the worms have over-come their host.  Maybe someday, scientists will replace man-fat with worm-fat too. 
    At least the worms are round making them more attractive than the flat ones which inhabit lungs and livers.

  15. Mitchell Glaser says:

    One of my favorite things in the Dune books is the Slig: a genetically spliced combination of slug and pig that lives on garbage and tastes like pork.

  16. oswarez says:

    Meh, most of the food we eat is genetically modified already, the veg and meat. I’m guessing many of those opposing genetic fiddling have dogs and cats that you sure as hell can’t find roaming wild in nature but rather have been created specifically for people and their high priced Gucci purses.

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