The purpose of this study is to modify adipose cells genetically in culture to produce cells that contain less saturated fat. To accomplish this objective, a fatty acid desaturase gene from castor beans will be transferred into adipose cells. Using cultured liver cells as a test system, the gene was successfully transferred into 12 different cultures of liver cells. We are currently studying the production of the corresponding RNA from the incorporated gene and the fatty acid composition of the transformed cells. Our next goal is to conduct similar activities using cultured adipose cells. Saturated fatty acids make up 40 to 55% of the total fat associated with meat. It has been demonstrated in animal and human studies that dietary saturated fatty acids (excluding C18:0) are hypercholesterolemic when compared with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, nutritional scientists must seek with urgency nutritional, managerial, and genetic protocols for decreasing the fat content and the proportion of saturated fatty acids in animal-derived foods.
Iowa State University
Beitz, Donald C.; Knight, Travis J.; Nikolau, Basil J.; and Lindberg, Gary L., "Genetic Manipulation of Adipose Cells to Improve Fatty Acid Composition of Meat" (1997). Beef Research Report, 1996. 38.