Something to reflect on over your lunch break today: Scientists are developing a new approach for producing human-derived gelatin in large enough quantities to be a commercially viable replacement for the animal-based gelatins used in all kinds of gelatin-like desserts, candies, and other foodstuffs as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Think about that next time you crack open a mid-afternoon pudding snack.
Gelatin is used as a gelling agent in all kinds of things and is generally derived from the collagen in animal bones and skin (particularly cows and pigs). Broken down, it's just a mixture of peptides and proteins. But it's still derived from animals, which means there is a risk, however slight, that it could provoke immune system responses in humans or carry infectious diseases. Moreover, animal gelatin can be inconsistent from batch to batch, giving headaches to quality control managers at production plants. And it's not vegetarian.
As such, scientists have tried all kinds of ways to create a better gelatin, and they think they may have found it, right here in us. To create the human-derived gelatin, human genes are inserted into yeast strains that are tuned to produce gelatin in specific, controlled ways. That creates for a more consistent gelatin--and also a twinge of nausea.
Is consuming gelatin derived from human genes some kind of indirect cannibalism, you ask? This may be yet another aspect of the commercial food production chain that the consumer may find it most comfortable to just not think about.
Proofs in the Pudding
It's people!!! The Jell-0 is people!!!
OK, so animal-based gelatin isn't vegetarian, that should be obvious if you know about vegetarianism. How would human-based gelatin solve that?
@JD929 - you see, animals are thinking, feeling creatures. to believe some of the propoganda, humans are some lesser caste of organism. totaly ok to eat them, its just payback really. [/sarcasm]
I guess the point of this development is to ensure continuity in production of the gelatin, so they have reasonable expectations of quality control. Yes, inserting and or using human DNA does seem learn towards cannibalism and seem unnecessary. Couldn't just focus on one particular animal (COW) and focus there, without dumping random variety of animal jells into the mix? They may win in quality control with their current direction, but if the public rejects it, their business could close, because of poor market understanding. Can we all say " EW! "
If eating gelatin created using human genes inserted into yeast is "indirect cannibalism," then so is babies drinking breast milk. It's just a natural product created using human starting material. I didn't get from the article that human gelatin is being made via the same processes as cow/pig gelatin.
The way I see it is that pretty much anything we can do to remove livestock from our food equation is a good thing. I'd probably draw the line at actual cannibalism because of the ethical implications, if not the gross factor. But I see anything else, including growing meat in a lab, eating insects, transitioning to a more vegetarian society, as a very good thing for the planet and our species.
Well, I for one will think twice before buying Jell-O Pudding POPS in the future.
Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!
this is way too cool...soylent green jello, yes! a marketing dynamo!and real soylent green coming to a future near you!
It's starts with gelatin, and the next thing you know, Soylent Green becomes a staple food. But they won't call it Soylent Green. Gotta agree with BubbaGump, just use normal animal DNA instead of human. I could understand if it was a medical application, not the best part of hospital food.
And how exactly is breast milk "Indirect Cannibalism"?
Definition of milk: mammary glands of all mature female mammals after they have given birth and serves as nourishment for their young. Milk is a food product of the mother. It is not he mother herself. The baby is not eating mom, but the food she produces.
Human provides the perfect mix of amino acids we need to survive, its a super food.
"Milk is a food product of the mother. It is not he mother herself." - BubbaGump
Yes, but that's really the point. In the above scenario, the proteins are a product of the yeast cells. Don't confuse a semantic argument with one about the scientific facts of the case. There are no people involved here. Think of the classic example of goats altered to produce spider silk proteins in *their* milk. Would you say that the milk is now made of spider? It just doesn't follow.
For myself, I see a mother feeding her baby as competely natural and normal. But I do not see a manufactoring plant producing these products as normal from the by products of humans or human DNS. It just seems odd.
Fist off, the gelling agents are just peptides and proteins and from what I got from the article they just inserted some DNA pieces into yeast that specifically produce those products. Do a web search for "producing insulin from yeast". Similiar work has already been done and is in use right now. Secondly, the gelling industry is a good use of all of those left over parts from other industries. I'm sure there are other uses for these parts but until the meat and leather industry starts to really shrink they will need to find other uses for these parts. Thirdly, reading the linked article I realize that the PopSci article left off one important factor that the gelatin is targeted at potiential use for drug capsules and other medical applications. That makes more sense. Now you're looking at an application similiar to producing insulin. I really doubt this will have a significant impact on the standard boiling of bones and skin for our jell-o cups and marshmallows. It will have a niche market someday but it will first be used in the pharmaceutical market where the most money can be made.
@biggin65409, you make some great points. In my life time, I have donated several gallons of blood, to help others. Pharmaceutical companies make many products from blood. I suppose if you are particular focus on medicines, helping the sick with this gelatin, it does provide a more positive aspect.
Only the green gelatin is people.
I think they're using snippets from human DNA mainly because those sections of DNA have already been identified - we know exactly what parts of DNA are responsible for those proteins they need. And putting those snips into yeast so we can avoid having to harvest animals to get them is a great idea - in the long run, this will actually lower costs, because it doesn't have to be refined.
Eventually, all of our food that used to be derived from animals will be "lab-grown" - yes, even meat. I don't see anything wrong with it, to be honest, as long as the production is well regulated so that we know exactly what's there and what isn't. Let's face it, lab-grown alternatives are more efficient, more ethical, more reliable, and safer than anything requiring animal slaughter. A lot of energy is wasted just keeping the rest of the animal alive, so cutting the middleman and growing just that beef tenderloin really saves a lot of resources, and there's no risk of exposure to chemicals, contaminants, parasites, or prions.
I'm not sure about the "immune reaction" theory of animal gelatin, and the need to replace it with a more genetically human-like substance. We eat animal products all the time. Since they are different species we often cannot get their diseases and vice versa. If we have animals engineered with human genes then it may be much easier for these diseases to make their way into humans. That is precisely why cannibalism is an unsuccessful dietary technique. It exposes the consumers to too many human diseases, because, at least in the past it was difficult to cook the food well enough to destroy many of the pathogens.
I'm sorry but I for one do not want to eat someone else's dna in my jello or in a pill for that matter. So boo hoo a cow or a pig get's killed for it's meat, we have been eating that meat for as long as the human race has been walking upright.....it's worked so far for us. I'm all about making this world more advanced but come on. Why do we NEED better or even different geliton, better gas ? Yes, better power ? You bet but better jello, I think hell no. There are better ways to make this world better then messing with this crap. All this is Imo of course.
You know, while reading all of this something just occurred to me. How many people griping about ingesting human DNA would complain about having a human organ put inside of them if they needed a transplant. Really makes you stop and think.
Hmmmm lol this is one of those that is just plane fun to comment on.... Cannibolism is now socailly ok? lol End the end though id eat the stuff with out much thought. lol
Speaking of eating and choose not think about what what were are eating. We call muscle meat and choose not to think about putting our mouths on the breast of a cow as we enjoy a glass of milk,lol.
you've stepped into another world. a world where people eat their dead on a daily basis, without ever knowing about the horrible truth. where the dead are not cremated, but gelled, and served to the populace. but one unfortunate couple are about to discover the truth. they've just stepped into: the twilight zone!
I can’t help but think having massive amounts of human gelatin, ultimately being neglected rotting feeding specialized microbes prone to feed on humans as well, is a bad idea. Why risk the biohazard? The dead are buried and cremated for obvious safety reasons. Besides it just will not sell. Good Idea but made from another animal. I bet most of the vegan prone would tolerate fish or worm gelatin.
They have a refined sequence of DNA that makes specifically the product they are looking for without all of the other "garbage" that usually comes from a whole complete animal. When they sequence the naked mole rat's DNA and find the same sequences in their DNA as they used from the human DNA and then use that for naked mole rat jell-o the product will still be the same. Once they have started a strain of yeast that can propagate they will no longer have to put any extra DNA sequences into it meaning that where they get the DNA sequences is really not related back to the animal they get them from. For anyone who thinks that it is related back to the original animal the real concern will be that eventually the yeast will become self-aware and "rise" up against their creators encasing them in the jell-o they were designed to produce. If your still worried about eating human DNA, find out how many human hairs are allowed in a candy bar.
Thanks for clarifying; the article is just for sensationalism then. I would still derive the sequence from a worm if possible because that is more sellable then from a human peace of DNA.
"You know, while reading all of this something just occurred to me. How many people griping about ingesting human DNA would complain about having a human organ put inside of them if they needed a transplant. Really makes you stop and think."
You can bet that if one day I need a kidney or a lung and the doctor says I have to eat it to get it in me, there will be a lot of griping on my end.
"Milk is a food product of the mother. It is not he mother herself." - BubbaGump
That is true...however, there is no "human gelatin" produced naturally for us to consume.
When you take human genes to create (not replicate) a food source you are, indeed, "eating people".
That being said, maybe human gelatin is even more delicious than animal gelatin?
What is the secret of Jell-O?