Porky Chews His Cud
If science could genetically alter an animal that chews its cud but does not have split hooves - a camel for instance - to give birth to camels which do have split hooves, would it then be kosher?
Great question! The Mishna actually discusses such a case. The Mishna says, "If a non-kosher animal gives birth to an apparently kosher animal, the offspring is not kosher...because whatever comes from a non-kosher animal is also non-kosher." So even if a camel were born with split hooves, it wouldn't be kosher.
On the other hand, if we could genetically engineer a kosher animal, such as a cow, to give birth to a type of camel or pig, then theoretically such a camel or pig would be kosher, as the Mishna says, "If a kosher animal gives birth to a non-kosher animal, the offspring is kosher...because whatever comes from a kosher animal is kosher."
So, the moral of the story is: If your cow has a camel, don't have a cow.
- Tractate Bechorot 5b
- Rambam Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:4
- Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 79,2