Oct 21, 2015

Scientists Have Genetically Engineered Dogs To Make Them More Muscly

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics, health, military

As long as they don’t enter the food supply.

First micropigs, now dogs: Scientists in China have used a gene-editing technique to produce the world’s first genetically engineered pooches. Although these two endeavors share scientific roots, with their production aimed at assisting medical research, unlike the teeny tiny pigs, the researchers behind this latest project are not intending to sell their customized animals as pets.

So it probably won’t come as a surprise that the dogs weren’t engineered to be cuter, fluffier or more pocket-sized: they had their DNA tweaked to make them more muscly. The first of many potential edits the team would like to carry out, this was done with the forces in mind.

With greater muscle mass, the dogs “are expected to have a stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police (military) applications,” researcher Liangxue Lai from the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health told MIT Technology Review. Later on down the line, the scientists would like to manipulate the dog genome in order to mimic human diseases, which could better our understanding and treatment of certain conditions.

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