In the field of animal husbandry, a prized male sire is exceptionally valuable. Bu harnessing their genetic potential, they can pass their strong traits on to future generations. But a single animal can only mate so many times, so scientists are figuring out ways to get around that particular obstacle. If you’re a goat, now your testicles can be cloned and implanted in another animal so they can take on part of the mating duties.
Biologists at the U.K.’s Roslyn Institute are behind the program, which has transplanted organs from mice and pigs as well. Using gene editing techniques, they are able to clone sperm-producing cells from a valuable goat and implant them into the scrotums of carrier animals. The sperm those animals produce is then genetically identical to the original goat. The hope is that this program will allow for animals to be bred more efficiently.
There is obvious danger to this type of genetic meddling – there are many traits that are not visible to the human eye, and the reduction of population diversity created by these methods could make herds more vulnerable to diseases or other factors. But the wide-scale adoption of this technology is still quite a ways off, and hopefully safeguards will be put in place before then.
Read more at New Scientist.Get your balls in the game! Donate to the Sean Kimerling Foundation to win the battle against testicular cancer.