Gelatin is found in everything from Jell-O and marshmallows to cosmetics and candles. But the current method of taking gelatin from the skin and bones of cows and pigs has a number of drawbacks, including variation in quality from batch to batch, the potential for transmitting infectious diseases like Mad Cow and the possibility of triggering immune system responses in humans. We may not have to rely on pig bones for gelatin forever, though the newest option--human derived gelatin--isn't too appetizing.
Beijing University of Chemical Technology researchers created the slightly creepy productby sticking human gelatin genes into a strain of yeast that can produce gelatin with reliable features--and a virtual guarantee that it won't be contaminated with pathogens or cause immune responses (because the gelatin molecules are based on human DNA sequences). No word on when the gelatin will be available for commercial use, but there are other companies working on similar products.