November 25, 2015

China is funding research into genetic modification of animals as a national priority and is setting up large animal cloning factories

Chinese Geneticist Lei Qu wants to increase goatherd incomes by boosting how much meat and wool each animal produces.

Once the goat team began to deploy CRISPR, their progress was rapid.

Nature Scientific Reports - Generation of gene-modified goats targeting MSTN and FGF5 via zygote injection of CRISPR/Cas9 system

The research is just one of a recent flurry of papers by Chinese scientists that describe CRISPR-modified goats, sheep, pigs, monkeys and dogs, among other mammals.

Japanese cow for Wagyu (Kobe) beef

Dozens, if not hundreds, of Chinese institutions in both research hubs like Beijing and far-flung provincial outposts have enthusiastically deployed CRISPR.

Genetic modification of animals is a priority area for the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Boyalife Group plans to build the world’s largest cloning factory. They plan to start producing clones of Japanese cows in 2016. They have 200 million yuan ($31 million) in funding.

The factory will be a partnership between a Boyalife subsidiary, two domestic research institutions, and Sooam Bitotech Research Foundation from South Korea.

They have bio-pharmaceutical objectives and they want to provide for China's growing demand for meat.

They are cloning dogs for improved trained dogs for airport security, customs and other special missions.
Cloned dogs are also for expensive high end pets.

They are want to produce more high-quality beef and top horses for racing.

The plan is for one hundred thousand cow embryos is the first year and then scaling up to millions.

Abstract - Generation of gene-modified goats targeting MSTN and FGF5 via zygote injection of CRISPR/Cas9 system

Recent advances in the study of the CRISPR/Cas9 system have provided a precise and versatile approach for genome editing in various species. However, the applicability and efficiency of this method in large animal models, such as the goat, have not been extensively studied. Here, by co-injection of one-cell stage embryos with Cas9 mRNA and sgRNAs targeting two functional genes (MSTN and FGF5), we successfully produced gene-modified goats with either one or both genes disrupted. The targeting efficiency of MSTN and FGF5 in cultured primary fibroblasts was as high as 60%, while the efficiency of disrupting MSTN and FGF5 in 98 tested animals was 15% and 21% respectively, and 10% for double gene modifications. The on- and off-target mutations of the target genes in fibroblasts, as well as in somatic tissues and testis of founder and dead animals, were carefully analyzed. The results showed that simultaneous editing of several sites was achieved in large animals, demonstrating that the CRISPR/Cas9 system has the potential to become a robust and efficient gene engineering tool in farm animals, and therefore will be critically important and applicable for breeding.

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