Would agree on the genetic modification of the dog for the sake of her health?


2017-03-02 19:00:11




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Would agree on the genetic modification of the dog for the sake of her health?

Dogs Have more genetic diseases than any other species on the planet — that you any biologist will confirm. Not gonna lie: no other animal people are not taken out so purposefully and long to form prevailed over substance — appearance over health. Centuries of inbreeding has led to the fact that many breeds of dogs severely limited the gene pool and the lack of genetic diversity leads to such disorders, as the bulldogs have brachycephalic, hyperuricemia in Dalmatians and cardiomyopathy in boxers.

David Aisha — breeder dogs from rural areas of Mississippi, which plans to change this state of Affairs. So far he's used selection. His first major project was the mastiffs, which were once considered a fighting breed, but became docile, lazy animals we see today. "They've lost their health, their vitality and athleticism," says Aisha. "My project is how a breeder should return it to them".

In his eyes the perfect Mastiff looks like this: 70-90 kg, 80+ inches at the shoulders, thick skin, dry mouth and lack of congenital health problems. For eight years, Aisha was able to return to this supermassive (which, in fact, and so should be) to its former glory.

Now, Aisha plans to implement its program of revitalizing breeding to other dogs, but he needs better tools.

Such as editing genes.


Edit genes and all

You might think that in order to adjust the genome of the animal, you need to do some serious work — for example, to obtain a degree in biology or several years at a large company in genetics.

But by showing by example how affordable and cheap the technology of today, Aisha learned to do genetic engineering directly into his back yard in a shed using a set of DNA, which orders via the Internet.

"I think every dog owner wants better tools, not just to breed dogs. But think it's impossible or insanely expensive, so nobody even tries," says Aisha. Everything changed when he watched a TED lecture about genetic engineering, in which he spoke about the simplicity and low cost of ordering synthesized DNA.

"Most importantly, the prices of sequencing and DNA synthesis are dropping. You can order synthetic DNA for only 9 cents for a couple of reasons. When I booked my construct of a year and a half ago, I paid 23 cents for a couple of reasons. And six years ago base pair was worth 1.3 dollars. When the price falls to pennies, people will be able to do more complex things."

However, the idea of it — that anyone can edit complex gene house, ordering all you need in the Internet leads to the fact that regulators are tightening the noose.


Combat standards

In mid-January, the FDA updated its regulations for animals produced with the use of editing genes, classifying the redacted parts of the genome of the animal as a veterinary medicine. That is, the animals themselves now refer to the new regulations as a new drug for animals.

Recognizing that the technology for genome editing could "potentially have beneficial effects on the health of animals and humans," the FDA also notes the possible unintended consequences of such manipulations for the environment and ecosystem and the individual genomes.

New guidelines cast a shadow on the next project Aisha: use the edit genes to save the Dalmatians from hyperuricemia. The SLC2A9 gene mutation in dogs leads to excess uric acid in the blood that cause painful stones in the bladder. Because of them, the bladder may even burst.

To display this mutation, the breeder has to wait a random occurrence of positive mutations — and since it is a closed inbred population, it may take decades. CRISPR gene editing can do it for a few months.

In Addition to challenging approvals and permits, FDA regulations require substantial fees, reaching a six-figure sum for the animal. Such a sum can afford to pay a large Corporation, but a private breeder is unlikely. No major Corporation will not engage in projects, from Aisha, because they don't make money. If dog owners are happy or carefree — and so, why create healthy dogs?


Designer dog, designer people?

The FDA notes that editing of the genes "raises fundamental ethical questions about the lives of people and animals." These questions cause a negative reaction when it comes to theme editing genes. If we are allowed to edit the genes of dogs, if we stand on a slippery slope? Can I order a pet to choose in the future, and if so, is it good or bad?

More importantly, if breeders like Aisha will be able to prove that CRISPR is a simple way to save dogs from health problems, whether this will pave the way for technologies to be used on humans? Scientists from China have produced a genetically modified hounds in 2015, and one of the scientists said that "dogs are similar to humans in metabolic, physiological and anatomical characteristics."

According to Aisha, genetic engineering and selective breeding are not so different. "CRISPR is not allowing us to do something that we couldn't do before. It's just easier, cheaper and faster," he says. "Breeding gives you less control and fewer degrees of freedom. But from the point of view of ethical concerns, are one and the same".


Old friend… worse than two new ones

Speaking of ethics, if people has led to the fact that dogs in General there were all these health problems, and now we have the technology to fix these problems, wouldn't it be our moral obligation?

English bulldogs have serious health problems, it is difficult for them to breathe, they have hip dysplasia, allergies of the skin. As a result of breeding and loss of genetic diversity has become difficult to improve the health of the breed within the existing gene pool.

Or, as scientists say, of the old bricks it is difficult to build a new house. Aisha may be the first breeder who will create a completely new bricks, if the FDA will allow him, and other breeders will probably follow.

As soon as the cost of CRISPR continues to fall, the interest in this technology is growing, attracting hundreds of new bohaterow with ideas and projects. Regulators will have to find a middle ground between the prohibition of the abuse of technology and permission of its use in the framework of what is permitted.

Very soon these experiments will be available to everyone. Now, thinking about genetic engineering, we envision mad scientists in white coats working in expensive laboratories. Unlikely to come to mind is the usual rural breeder somewhere in Mississippi, working in his barn. But it looks like the future.



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