Looks like Charlton Heston may have been on to something.
According to a new study, there is “increasing interest from research and industrial circles” in making gelatin from human DNA. The Telegraph reports that the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, discussed a series of successful experiments conducted by scientists at Beijing University of Chemical Technology wherein human genes were inserted into a strain of yeast in order to grow quantities of recombinant (genetically engineered) human gelatin.
The journal’s publisher says the human gelatin could eventually be used as a substitute for the 300,000 tons of animal-based gelatin used every year in products such as marshmallows, Gummi Bears, and other candies. The pharmaceuticals industry has already set a precedent, as it uses human gelatin in the manufacture of certain pills and vaccines (gel cap, anyone?), and an American bioethicist reassured the paper that “the gelatin is not derived from human tissue in the same way that animal gelatin is. … It’s really derived from yeast — yeast that have been modified with genetic sequences found in human beings.” Either way, it still sounds far more palatable than manufacturing hamburgers from human fecal matter. Or, for that matter, boob cheese.
[Via The Food Section]