Youve probably heard the common refrain that all wed have to do to feed everyone on the planet is to abandon a meat based diet in favor of a wholly or partially vegetarian diet, which uses far less grain than feeding cows. But what if, instead, we could make cows hyper-efficient meat producers. Researchers in New Zealand might have found a way to do just that.
On August 26, Reuters reported that a husband and wife team, Mridula Sharma and Ravi Kambadur, discovered a gene responsible for a mutation in cattle which doubles muscle growth in the cattle.
The gene, myostatin, normally acts to inhibit muscle growth. Sharma and Kambadur discovered a mutation which increases muscle mass up to 40 percent in certain breeds and could lead to even strong increases. The upshot is the cattle with the mutation produced far more meat (and more tender meat at that) than cattle without the mutation.
The two have managed to clone the gene and recently published their discovery of a similar find in mice in Nature.
Of course it will probably never get to market with the hysteria over genetic engineering so common with environmentalists these days, but if you want to sink your teeth into a nice juicy, environmentally-friendly steak, this is the way to go.
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