A team of researchers has harnessed a gene-editing tool to alter a male fertility gene found n animal embryos. Animals born sterile began to produce sperm after they received a shit of sperm-generating cells from donor animals.
The new method would allow the use of surrogate males, which can produce sperm that carries the genetic traits of valuable animals. It would be easier to multiply prime specimens which exhibit excellent traits and capabilities, a boon that would be quite handy for the production of superior livestock.
According to one of the researchers who contributed to the study, the method could also be used to tackle food insecurity issues. The ability to obtain prime specimens would reduce the number of required resources, including water, feed, and antibiotics, while the resulting animal would be more healthy.
Tests revealed that the surrogate sires featured active donor sperm. In the case of mice, the offspring were healthy can came with the genetic traits of the sperm tester. While tests on larger animals didn’t take place, for now, the initial result is quite promising.
Reviving lost species
It is also theorized that the new technology could also be employed for the salvation or conservation of endangered species. One scenario involves the use of frozen sperm for an endangered species to accelerate regeneration, but there are some factors that will have to be taken into account in advance.
At this point, the law forbids the use of genetically-enhanced livestock due to a variety of potential issues, including concerns related to ethics and animal welfare. While the use of animals resistant to diseases would limit the need to use drugs, long-term studies have to explore if the meat is safe as well as any potential issues that could appear in time.
A paper has been published in a scientific journal.