Scientists claim to have found a way to genetically alter young pigs so they grow 40 percent faster on 25 percent less feed.

Robert Schwartz, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston believes this could be one way agriculture could make additional production gains in the next decade.

The new technology includes a synthetic chemical that’s inserted into a biodegradable piece of DNA then injected into the leg of a two-week old pig. The chemical then causes the pig’s pituitary gland to secure high levels of growth hormones.

This technology could eventually lead to breakthroughs in how human diseases like cancer are treated.

The findings in hogs are still preliminary and are obviously not ready to be used in production.

Gene therapy brings up many ethical questions and would almost surely spark controversy with consumers.

“This is extremely interesting work, but it has some problems with how the consumer will receive it,” says Max Rothschild, Iowa State University geneticist and U.S. pig genome coordinator. “Will consumers eat animals that are treated in such a fashion? The jury is still out. In Europe the answer is absolutely not.”