Last January, inspectors with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a visit to the University of Illinois, where researchers have been studying the DNA of pigs. The pig project, based in Champaign-Urbana, is one of dozens of experiments being conducted across the country in which scientists are altering the genetic structure of animals in hopes of making them fatter, healthier, and more profitable. Pigging out. Photo: USDA. In the University of Illinois project, cow genes were inserted into sows to increase their milk production, and a synthetic gene was added to make milk digestion easier for the piglets, thereby …
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Shelley Smithson is a freelance writer in Farmington, N.M. Research for this story was conducted with financial support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.