A Chinese biotech firm says it now has the answer: a genetically modified swine that tops out around 33 pounds.
BGI, a company based in the southern city of Shenzhen that is known for its work sequencing human, plant and animal DNA, recently announced that it intends to start selling $1,600 miniature pigs that it initially created as laboratory models for studying human ailments.
The pigs created a splash late last month when BGI showed them at the Shenzhen International Biotech Leaders Summit. The pint-size porkers were created through a process known as gene editing. Rather than introduce another organism’s DNA into the pigs, scientists “edit” the swine’s own genetic material, disabling a copy of the growth hormone receptor gene so that cells don’t get a signal to grow.
Swine-loving celebrities will have to wait for further innovation for truly purse-portable pigs (Miley Cyrus’ Bubba Sue and Paris Hilton’s Princess Pigelette are more than a handful, while George Clooney’s 18-year companion, Max, grew to 250 pounds before he died in 2006).