Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have developed a transgenic mouse that synthesizes both the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids within its tissues on a diet of carbohydrates or saturated fats. Called “essential” because they are necessary to maintain important bodily functions, omega fatty acids cannot naturally be synthesized by mammals and therefore must be acquired by diet. Significant evidence suggest that the ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 has important implications for human health, further increasing interest in the development of foods rich in omega-3s, which are found in certain species of fish as well as some nuts and green vegetables.
“Introducing into mammals the capacity to convert non-essential nutrients into essential fats could lead to new, sustainable and cost-effective resources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids,” says Jing X. Kang, MD, PhD, of the Laboratory for Lipid Medicine and Technology in the MGH Department of Medicine, senior author of the report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. “Our study also provides a mouse model for addressing research questions about the true health impacts of these essential fatty acids.”
Read more at: MedicalXpress