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Gene editing produces all-male or all-female litters of mice

Discussion in 'The Animal World' started by We Never Know, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I reckon sooner or later this would come along.

    "In some farmers’ ideal world, cows would birth only females, sows would bear no boars, and chicks would all grow up to be hens. Such sex ratios would stop them from killing millions of male animals, which don’t produce eggs or milk.

    Now, scientists are a step closer to this reality. Researchers have harnessed the gene editor CRISPR to produce litters of mice all of one sex. That’s a potential boon to agriculture and may offer a more immediate advantage in scientific research. “The paper shows a state-of-the-art solution to producing single-sex species,” with “impressive results,” says Ehud Qimron, a CRISPR expert at Tel Aviv University who was not involved with the work.

    The impact for lab animals may be huge. “In the past 5 years around 25,000 papers were published using mice in sex-specific research studies,” says study co-author James Turner, a molecular geneticist at the Francis Crick Institute. “If we could prevent the generation of the unstudied sex, the number [saved] would be in the hundreds of thousands.”

    Other methods exist to skew the male/female ratio of newborn animals. Scientists can sort sperm by the weight of the sex chromosome, or cause embryos of one sex to die before birth. In a study published 2 years ago, researchers using the gene editor CRISPR managed to produce altered mice in which four of five litters were all female.

    In the current work, that efficiency jumps to 100%, a critical difference as no “wrong” sex offspring are produced. The authors also target a gene that is conserved in many animals, so the technique may prove useful for more than just mice. “The approach seems generalizable to other animal species,” including birds and fish, says Michael Wiles, a molecular geneticist at the Jackson Laboratory who was not involved with the study. It could even help with the recovery of endangered species, Wiles says, depending on which sex was in short supply.

    Full story here
    AAAS
     
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  2. RayofLight

    RayofLight My pronouns: they/them

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    This reminds me of the New Mexico whiptail being a species of lizard that is all female due to parthenogenesis. That's all I can think of even tho it's not really related.
     
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