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Soon Your Beef Can be Loaded With Fish Oil

Fish oil is one of the few "universal" supplements necessary for all humans if they hope to achieve optimal health. Nearly every human alive would benefit from taking it. Practically all the commercial fish in the world are contaminated with pollutants so the ideal source of fish for most humans now becomes high-quality fish oil or cod liver oil. Many have expressed concern that there are not enough fish in the world to supply the human race with all the omega-3 that we need. I suspect that this is true. The reality though is that it will be many years (decades?) before the bulk of the human race realizes this need and seeks to obtain this essential oil.

I was never worried about this problem though as I was highly confident that technology would provide a solution, and now it has, many years before it was needed. Researchers have now inserted a gene from a nematode worm into mice that enables them to make omega-3 fatty acids. If the same feat can be achieved in farm animals, meat, milk and eggs could all be directly enriched with the oils. This might be one of the few applications of GM technology I agree with. One day this technology may transform your steak and egg meal into one full of beneficial omega-3 fats. There would still be many years of research needed to ensure that this genetic alteration did not have some unforeseen consequences. But it is encouraging to note that future generations will always have access to one of the most critical foods necessary for health that is currently known.

Nature February 5, 2004;427 504

USA Today February 5, 2004

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