Hot to trotter

25.01.40: WHEN THE SMOKE cleared, there it was, nestled on a bed of straw - a pig with wings.

A pink, healthy-looking porker, and from its back sprouted a glorious pair of brilliant-white swan's wings.

The "flying pig", which cannot actually fly, was the climax of the opening of Dream Time - a vast new virtual adventure centre outside Huddersfield.

"We wanted something that said, 'Anything can happen', and what better than Pigasus?" declared Arthur Sneed, manager of the complex. Pigasus, or, as some unkind reporters were calling him, Icarus, was created in the laboratories of GenVenture in Ukraine.

"We transplanted more than 100 genes from a swan into a pig embryo to produce Pigasus," said Dr Giorgio Bukovsky. Asked how many attempts it took to create the perfect winged piglet, he admitted to "more than 50 and, yes, some died soon after birth".

There have been other attempts to swap animal features. Some years ago labrador puppies with long rabbit ears went on sale at Harrods, but all were returned after the owners found them to be so bad-tempered that several children had been bitten. Pigasus is the most stylish hybrid to date, but scientists admit that it will be many years before they will know enough about the way that all the genes involved in flying interact to produce a working model. JB