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Chinese scientists have created a genetically modified sheep that was cloned to contain a large amount of healthy fats. The cloned sheep, “Peng Peng” was born in a laboratory in Xinjiang China on March 26 and to date is healthy and growing well.
It has been reported that the Chinese have succeeded in cloning a sheep that contains a higher amount of “good” fats than a typical sheep. Though the sheep looks like and is growing like any other sheep, it has been genetically modified to include more healthy fats. The hope is to produce lamb meat for consumption that is heart healthy.

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Health Risks For The Environment

There have been many concerns raised about the production of GMO foods. Environmentally speaking, there is some worry about the unintended contamination of other crops. Along with the production of biotech or GMO foods comes the presence of new chemicals. Some of these chemicals are inadvertently responsible for killing off other living organisms. For example, the toxins in GMO corn plants can poison butterflies and bees, increasing their mortality rates.

Additionally, it is believed that insects may become resistant to the pesticides that are used with GMO crops or those crops that have been genetically modified to create their own pesticides. Another concern is the crossbreeding of herbicide-tolerant plants and weeds with typical plants and weeds. This gene transfer would cause the occurrence of many herbicide-tolerant “super weeds”. Farmers are also concerned that pollen from GMO crops would cross-pollinate with their adjacent crops.

Health Risks to Humans

Aside from the environmental concerns associated with GMO crops, there are some additional health risks to humans that are currently being evaluated. There is the possibility that genetically modifying foods may cause new allergens to form. Many children suffer from allergies; it is the thought that these potentially new allergens would cause an allergic reaction in vulnerable people.

A plan to modify Brazil nuts into soybeans was deterred for that very reason. Besides the possibility of new allergens developing, GMO foods are generally considered healthy to humans, so far. However, a few studies have been conducted in an attempt to compare the reaction of the digestive system when GMO foods were introduced. It will likely take several years to test for the development of any true health risks to humans.

Economic Worries

The process of getting GMO foods from the lab to the marketplace is time consuming and costly. Naturally, the companies engineering the biotech processes want to be sure that their venture is a profitable one. To protect their developments, many companies have applied for patents and thus patent infringement has become a huge worry.  Because the companies are spending money developing and protecting their patents, the cost to the end GMO food will likely be greater than expected.


Scientists in China have successfully cloned a sheep that contains lots of heart healthy fats. The process of genetically modifying foods takes place in animals for consumption as well as in plant crops. However, both of these ventures have caused some controversy. While GMO crops are ever-present, the debate is over whether or not these biotech foods pose issues with health and environmental safety. While Peng-Peng the sheep is a great success, it will likely be years before China clears this type of meat for human consumption.