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12 bizarre examples of genetic engineering

Oct. 27, 2010, 12:30 p.m.
cow standing in field

Photo: jupiterimages

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Less-flatulent cows

Cows produce significant amounts of methane as a result of their digestion process — it’s produced by a bacterium that’s a byproduct of cows’ high-cellulosic diets that include grass and hay. Methane is a major contributor — second only to carbon dioxide — to the greenhouse effect, so scientists have been working to genetically engineer a cow that produces less methane.

Agriculture research scientists at the University of Alberta have identified the bacterium responsible for producing methane and designed a line of cattle that creates 25 percent less methane than the average cow.