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Are Gene Edited Cows or Humans What We Really Need?

20 11 0
19.08.2019

Scientists using the “second generation” of genetic manipulation technology have used gene-editing to alter the DNA of breed of cattle so that they supposedly do not grow horns. At around the same time another group of scientists claim to have injected human cells into monkeys to create chimeras, as in the ancient Greek myths of beings part lion, part snake. Earlier this year a group of Chinese researchers claimed to have deliberately gene-edited monkey clones with a mental disturbance. What few realize is that all this is taking place almost entirely without any serious health and safety regulation. Is this what mankind really needs at this juncture?

Gene-edited hornless cows

Scientists at the biotech company Recombinetics have filed a patent on cattle it has genetically engineered to not grow horns using gene-editing methods. They claimed the process to be safe and effective. However tests by scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration revealed that the CRISPR gene-editing process resulted in “unexpected alterations” of the genome, including “complex genomic rearrangements at or near the target site in 34 mammalian genome editing experiments.”

The FDA researchers found gene-editing errors in the genome of the animals that were being overlooked. They identified major unintended effects. The gene scissors used, known as TALENs, are often described as highly precise. However, the FDA research showed that apart from the desired gene sequences being inserted into the genome, DNA originating from genetically engineered bacteria used in the process was also inserted. Specifically, they found presence of unintended antibiotic resistance genes in the gene-edited cattle. Recombinetics reports that it is also developing a precision gene-editing breeding method to eliminate the need to castrate pigs. Unintended effects?

Human Monkey Brain?

In another recent application of the gene-editing........

© New Eastern Outlook