Researchers at Kent State University have newly found a way to gene edit and create fully female and fully male litters of mice with 100% efficiency. This could be incredibly useful in dairy and egg production. Seeing as the females in both of these industries are the required sex and the males get disposed of. In chickens, the roosters are culled and in dairy, the bulls are sent to auction or slaughtered. If we could create a herd of 100% females there would be no need to slaughter any males. This is not only profitable for the farmers but improves the welfare of these animals. Researchers also brought up the idea behind the use of these litters for science. Generally, in research, only one sex will be studied they explain and the others are removed and disposed of. In this case, they can genetically create research litters of the sex they prefer, therefore not "wasting" any animal. Decreasing the slaughter rate of many animals that were not specifically bred for that reason. This is a huge step in the way of animal welfare and quality of life. A note to make is that there were also no harmful effects to the surviving gene-edited offspring. The researchers make clear although this is a big step in genetic research, any future use in agriculture would have to be studied extensively before use on any farm.
This is honestly really incredible and there are a lot of positive long-lasting implications to this finding! I agree that this does have great positives for animal welfare, but I just hope this development isn't used to further exploit them.ReplyDelete
I agree. With this power of science, it could lead to the wrong hands. With the possibility of producing a litter with one desired sex this may lead to over-exploiting this method for a specific research. There should definitely be rules and precautions when it comes to using this method in an agriculture setting.Delete
It is upsetting how many roosters are killed because just hens are deemed as desirable for egg laying. It is amazing that there is a way to genetically create litters of just females or males, and hopefully these new findings will be used in a positive way to help the dairy and poultry industries.ReplyDelete