Donna Danna (27 Oct 2011)
"Do you fancy a jelly baby made from human DNA?"


Do you fancy a jelly baby made from human DNA?

Reports last week that researchers could be just six months away from producing the world’s first artificial meat, using thousands of stem cells bred in a laboratory, sent a wave of fascination around the world. Yet there is an even more ghoulish prospect ahead: the idea of eating artificial food made from humans.
 
This may sound like science fiction, yet a new technique for making gelatin from human DNA is attracting “increasing interest from research and industrial circles”, according to a new study by scientists from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology. The paper, published recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, revealed that successful experiments had been carried out in which human genes were inserted into a strain of yeast to “grow” large amounts of recombinant (genetically engineered) human gelatin.
 
Gelatin has a long history of use as a gelling agent by the food industry – and, according to the journal’s publisher, the American Chemical Society, human-derived gelatin “could become a substitute for some of the 300,000 tons of animal-based gelatin produced annually for desserts, marshmallows, candy and innumerable other products”.
 
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