Chinese firm wants to sell you genetically modified pet pigs

Chinese firm wants to sell you genetically modified pet pigs

blogger-avatarby Jon Fingas | @jonfingas | 23 Hours Ago
http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/11/genetically-modified-pet-pigs/

The concept of buying pets with custom genes may soon become a reality. Beijing Genomics Institute has divulged plans to sell genetically modified pigs whose DNA will keep them small, weighing in at a modest 31 to 44 pounds. The tweak was originally meant to produce ideal subjects for disease modeling research, but the healthy first generation is reportedly well-suited to pet buyers who don’t want large hogs in their living rooms. While it’s too soon to know exactly how long these “micro pigs” will live, they’re expected to last 15 to 20 years.

It’s not clear just when these pigs would go on sale, or for how much. It wouldn’t be surprising if they’re limited to China, mind you — many countries are jittery about importing pets in the first place, let alone ones with altered genes. As it stands, BGI will likely have to overcome cultural hurdles. Many people are still opposed to genetically modified animals in any form, and some of those that are in favor might still object to that practice with pets. You could argue that BGI is encouraging the ownership of pets that aren’t really house-friendly, for instance. Whatever your stance, the commercial launch should show whether or not society is ready (or willing) to accept tailor-made companions.

Leave a Reply