Building a Better Sheep

Chinese scientists claim to have cloned a lamb carrying a roundworm gene that aids in the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob started with The Scientist as a staff writer in 2007. Before joining the team, he worked as a reporter at Audubon and earned a master’s degree in science journalism...

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Apr 25, 2012

Not Peng PengWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, KEVEN LAW

Peng Peng, a cloned Chinese Merino sheep, is proof that a Caenorhabditis elegans gene involved in the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are more healthful than their saturated cousins, can be successfully implanted in the genome of the sheep, Chinese researchers announced yesterday (April 24th).

The lamb was born on March 26th in China's Xinjiang region and is "growing very well and is very healthy like a normal sheep," lead scientist Du Yutao at the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in Shenzhen in southern China told Reuters.

Peng Peng's birth follows the creation of other transgenic farm animals with enhanced abilities to produce more healthy fats. Last year, for example, Chinese and Argentine research teams independently reported the successful incorporation of human milk genes into dairy cows, and in 2006 researchers in the United States created cloned pigs that...