By Kate Celand
LONDON, 14 September (Reuters) – Scientists have created gene-edited pigs, goats and cattle to produce sperm with disease resistance and high meat quality that they say is genetic to improve food production Is a step towards raising livestock.
Animals created for the first time by researchers in the United States and Britain using a gene-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9 can be used as “surrogate cirrus”, essentially sterile blank slates that then form the stem. Can be implanted by cells. Desired sperm, scientists said. He said that by this process farmers can get help of more healthy animals by using less resources like fodder, medicines and water. It can also give breeders in remote areas of the world, who can better utilize the genetic material of elite animals by allowing “precise breeding” from elsewhere.
“With this technology, we can better disseminate desirable traits and improve the efficiency of food production,” said John Otley, a reproductive biologist at Washington State University in the United States, who co-led the work .
He said that this could have a major impact on addressing food insecurity worldwide. “If we can deal with this genetically, it means that we have to put less water, less feed and less antibiotics into animals.”
Yet gene-editing has long been a controversial topic, and the latest advance may face critics’ resistance to animal genetic modification, which they consider dangerous tampering with nature.
The researchers asserted that the gene-editing process they used was designed to bring about changes only within an animal species that could occur naturally.
The research was a “proof of concept”, he said, and showed that the technique could work. However, current regulations mean that gene-aided surrogate cirrus cannot be used in the food chain anywhere in the world, even though their offspring will not be gene-edited, the researchers said.
Ottley’s team used CRISPR-Cas9 to scavenge genes specific for male fertility in animal embryos that would be raised to become surrogate cirrus. Male animals were then born sterile, but the researchers began to produce sperm, as the researchers implanted stem cells from donor animals in their testing. “It shows the world that this technology is real. It can be used,” said Bruce Whitelaw, an expert at the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University, UK, who worked on the team. “We now … have to work so that it is best used to help feed our growing population.” (Reporting by Kate Kelland, edited by Praveen Char)
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.