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FRANCE

GM jellyfish-lamb sold as meat in France

Sheep - not genetically modified as far as we know
Sheep - not genetically modified as far as we know Reuters

French authorities are looking into how a lamb genetically modified with a jellyfish fluorescent protein was sold as meat to an unknown customer in Paris reported daily Le Parisien.

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The female lamb, known as Rubis, was “born to a sheep that was genetically modified as part of a medical research programme,” said the National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra), that “was sold (by mistake) to a person in the Parisian region in October 2014”.

Although the meat does not present any risk to humans or the environment, Inra has informed local prosecutors about this breach of environmental regulations and blamed a malicious act by an employee.

The case has been taken up by a public health court in Paris.

Rubis had been modified with a biochemistry tagging tool, the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), which allows scientific researchers to look into the inner workings of cells.

For example, by attaching the GFP tagging tool to a virus, they can watch the virus spread spread by following its green glow under ultraviolet light.

The GFP is also a way to watch invisible processes such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread as the glowing marker allows to watch movements, positions and interactions of the tagged proteins in the body.

The discovery of the GFP won a Nobel prize in chemistry in 2008.

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