Human Genetic Material – Coming to Your Marshmallows and Jello Soon?

Reading the ingredients list in any processed food is always thought-provoking. If you really want to know what those mysterious combinations of letters and numbers mean, you have to become adept at Internet research. So I suppose it could be argued that artificial colors and flavorings, the various forms of sugars, like that derived from GM beets, addictive chemicals, and strange substances like meat glue are actually good for us.

I mean, it’s intellectually stimulating – tracking down their origins and possible side effects. Like a puzzle or a good detective story, right?


Now how about human genes in your drug capsules, dessert, or cosmetics?

The latest stomach-turning development in the science of food processing is gelatin derived from human genetic material. According to this article from the American Chemical Society, scientists at the University of Chemical Technology in Beijing, China, are working on culturing human collagen genes to yeast. In this highly synthesized process, the human-DNA-laden yeast does what yeast does so well, reproducing itself many times over and making massive amounts of gelatin.  The advantage in this gelatin over the conventional animal-based kind, is being able to get around allergic responses and risk of infectious diseases carried by animals, claim the Chinese scientists.

Having spoken to a biochemist of my acquaintance who prefers to remain anonymous, it becomes clear that the gross-out factor is the major deterrent in our minds. There’s no question of cannibalism. It’s not necessary to boil down human bones or skin. An inner-cheek swab would provide enough DNA to start the synthesis. According to my source, the manufacturing process is already well-known and widely used. And the original human material is so remote from the finished product that ethical concerns are irrelevant.

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