In case you were getting tired of ho-hum animal-based gelatin, Chinese researchers have now created human-based gelatin. The study appeared in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry this week and was conducted by lead researcher Jinchun Chen at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology.
The thought of consuming human-derived gelatin (human jello!?) naturally leads to the uncomfortable questions about cannibalism. But before you get completely grossed out, it is important to note that unlike animal-based gelatin, which is derived from the collagen in animal bones and skin, human-based gelatin is made by injecting human gelatin genes directly into yeast (using genetic engineering techniques), therby avoiding the bones and skin aspect.
In fact, the whole point of even attempting to make human-derived gelatin is to avoid any risk of infectious diseases (like mad cow disease) that might arise from combining pig and cow gelatin. So, in theory, it’s safer and healthier — just a lot more disgusting to think about (unless you’re into that kind of thing).
The journal reports that human-based gelatin is intended for medical purposes — to be used in products like drug capsules — so it probably won’t be showing up in your dessert mix anytime soon. At least, that’s what they’re telling us….