AR-News: (UK) Something fishy about oily cress, say vegans
info at animalconcerns.org
Mon May 17 22:26:11 EDT 2004
London: A genetically modified plant that produces all the healthy fats
found in oily fish has been developed by British scientists.
The weedy type of cress was changed to make it rich in polyunsaturated
fats known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The fats are believed to
help reduce heart disease and, according to some scientists, improve brain
function and mood.
Baoxiu Qi and Colin Lazarus, plant biologists at Bristol University,
developed it as an alternative source of the fats. Oily fish are
especially rich in omega-3. Omega-6 is found in certain grains and poultry.
The cress was modified with genes from three micro-organisms and its
production of the fats, and some hope plants will become a viable
alternative source of the oils. "The next step is to add the same set of
genes to leafy salad vegetables such as spinach and lettuce," Dr Lazarus said.
The use of modified plants would take the pressure off depleted fish
stocks. Oils made from the plants are also likely to be more pure than
many fish oil supplements. People with diets lacking in the fats from
fish, such as vegans, may benefit.
Britain's Vegan Society was also sceptical. "At the end of the day this is
not about human good; it's about making a profit," a spokesman said.
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