Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scientist in China have started to genetically alter man’s best friend. These dogs have not been altered to be more fluffy or smaller. The muscle mass have been increased to improve performance. These dogs have been given an athletic edge compared to normal dogs. As expected, the genetically altered dogs have greater running ability. These dogs can be used for both military and hunting purposes.

CRISPR-Cas9 is one of the most precise and efficient methods of gene editing today. “In this case, the scientists used CRISPR to snip out a gene called myostatin in beagles, the most commonly used dog in biomedical research.” Out of the 27 puppies only 2 received the genetic altered muscle mass. It’s visibly obvious that these two pups have more muscular phenotype. Dogs, like many other species, are able to undergo mutations without serious negative effects.

Dogs have close similarities to humans when it comes to anatomical characteristics. Therefore, most of these advances in genetics can be transferred to humans with some work. Instead of muscle mass, scientist can work on curing diseases. However, genetically altering human DNA is still a touchy subject. So, I’m excited to see these advancements, but I think there is still a long ways to go before we will see them used for humans.

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