June 2, 2009
Just when I think things can’t possibly get any worse…
“Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.
“We’re trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce protein,” said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the researchers on the project. “When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve as a vaccine.”
This collaborative effort project involves Mr. Harris and Brad Bosworth, an affiliate associate professor of animal science working with pigs, and Kan Wang, a professor in agronomy, who is developing the vaccine traits in the corn.
According to the researchers, the corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, Mr. Harris said. The research is funded by a grant from Iowa State University’s Plant Sciences Institute, and is their Biopharmaceuticals and Bioindustrials Research Initiative. Read the rest of this entry »