An international group of scientists from UK and China carried out this pioneering research.
The researchers turned bacon healthier by using genome editing process called CRISPR and transformed the pigs in a way that they hold less body fat — leading to leaner meat being obtained from them — and also remain warmer in cooler temperature.
This process might also help researchers in modifying other farm animals.
A gene known for controlling body temperature was added in the embryos of piglets using the CRISPR technique. The scientists wanted to see if the technique would help piglets maintain a warmer body temperature, and therefore not develop much body mass.
This would result in aiding the survival of the animal in cooler climates and also increase the production of lean meat, which contains fewer calories but remains as good a good source of protein as bacon currently available.
The researchers made 13 attempts to impregnate mature sows with the modified offspring, out of which three turned out to be successful.
"Between the three females, 12 male piglets were born, and as those pigs grew into adults, their body fat was, on average, 24 percent less than in an unmodified pig. These new pigs, which were able to stay warmer without as much fat thanks to faster metabolisms, appeared perfectly healthy," said a report on bgr.com.
Healthier bacon with low fat content might be available for consumption in the near future, but genetically modifying animals is considered controversial in various countries.
Laws regarding this are already prevalent in the US and many other countries that might not permit using pigs like these from being used for eating.
The jury is currently still out regarding whether genetic engineering can have long-term impact on various species as well as other animals including humans who get habituated to eat them
"China, on the other hand, is a bit more lax with its guidelines for genetically modified food sources, though the researchers haven't said one way or the other whether pigs such as these could eventually make their way to farms," bgr.com reported.